Archive for Tuesday, October 14, 2008

KU to disband School of Fine Arts, establish new school, departments

Big changes are planned for the School of Fine Arts on KU's main campus.

October 14, 2008, 1:14 p.m. Updated October 14, 2008, 5:07 p.m.

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Details of the new organization

  • The School of Fine Arts would become the School of Music, with 51 tenured or tenure-track faculty, and an estimated 325 undergraduates pursuing majors and 197 graduate students. Officials would expect a national search to be conducted for a new dean. An interim dean could be appointed for 2009-10, depending on the timing of the expected plan approval from the regents.
  • The new School of the Arts would be headed by an associate dean reporting to Joseph Steinmetz, dean of liberal arts at KU, who would fill the job after conducting an internal search. "We have so much talent across KU," said Steinmetz, "who knows who will emerge?" John Gronbeck-Tedesco, a theatre and film professor and interim dean of fine arts, is a former associate dean of liberal arts.
  • The School of the Arts would include the existing Department of Art, the existing Department of Theater and Film, and a new Department of Dance. The school also would include several design programs not going to the School of Architecture: ceramics, metalsmithing and jewelry, scenography, textile design, theater design and visual arts education. The anticipated totals: 55 tenured or tenure-track faculty, 763 undergraduates pursuing majors and 81 graduate students.
  • The School of Architecture would welcome interior design, industrial design, visual communications, photomedia, interactive design and design management, with 14 tenured or tenure-track faculty, plus an estimated 318 undergraduates pursuing majors and 15 graduate students. The school's name also would be expected to change, Gaunt said, to reflect the addition of design programs.

Kansas University administrators intend to split up the School of Fine Arts and sprinkle its faculty, staff and students into a focused assemblage of schools, departments and programs.

The plan will be expected to strengthen arts education on campus without requiring additional money, hiring more staff, eliminating any jobs or changing existing students' academic programs.

"I think it's a good opportunity for collaborations to be built, and for us to build up on interdisciplinary studies," said Joseph Steinmetz, dean of liberal arts at KU. "That's where higher education really is headed. And in taking this opportunity for reorganization, it also happens to be budgetarily neutral - which is, in this day and age, a good thing."

The reorganization, announced Tuesday, would create a stand-alone School of Music, and establish a School of the Arts in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. The new School of Arts would retain a handful of design programs, while others - including industrial design, interior design and visual communication - would become part of the School of Architecture and Urban Planning.

Oversight of the Lied Center would shift from the School of Fine Arts to the office of Provost Richard Lariviere, in recognition of the center's role as a universitywide asset.

"The arts play a critical role in society, providing enlightenment, education and entertainment," Lariviere said, in a statement. "The way the various artistic fields are studied and practiced at universities is changing, with an increased focus on collaboration and interdisciplinary work.

"The plan we've developed recognizes those changes and ensures KU students will have an opportunity to be part of a vibrant arts community for decades to come."

The changes await approval from the Kansas Board of Regents. KU expects the new structure to be in place by July 1, in time to be operational for the 2009-10 academic year.

The plan comes after KU officials conducted a national search to find a new dean of fine arts, to replace the departing Steve Hedden. That six-month search produced three candidates as finalists, but none were hired.

Lariviere then appointed a task force, and later a committee of deans, to examine the future of fine arts at KU.

Those efforts led to the reorganization plan, one designed to give strength and autonomy to music programs; infuse art offerings with more connections in liberal arts; and add design programs to an architecture school that is finding varied skills increasingly valuable for students and graduates.

"Architects are designers," said John Gaunt, dean of architecture and chairman of the reorganization committee. "The design programs involve creative people in the design process. That, in and of itself, is strategically a valuable opportunity for our future - how we all work together."

The reorganization plan calls for all faculty and staff in all affected schools, departments and programs to be retained. Students already enrolled in affected degree programs will be able to complete their courses of study.

"This will be imperceptible for students," Gaunt said.

Comments

Boeing 6 years, 7 months ago

Ouch my head hurts after the 4th paragraph. Interesting...

newsreader 6 years, 7 months ago

Room for more managmenet and non-teaching staff.... good idea !

Gareth Skarka 6 years, 7 months ago

'bout time. Maybe now KU will stop losing students looking for a BFA in Theatre to schools in Missouri.

tyderian 6 years, 7 months ago

This can only be a good thing. Maybe the music department as a whole will be less "Office Space"-ish (less bureaucratic) when it becomes a "School of Music" instead of a "Department of Music".

tangential_reasoners_anonymous 6 years, 7 months ago

School of Fine Arts... College of Liberal Arts and Sciences....Ever notice there's no School or College of Conservative Arts?( Guess that explains it. )

vhawk 6 years, 7 months ago

Were they going to give a heads up to current Fine Arts students?! This is the first I've heard of it. wtf

Jack Martin 6 years, 7 months ago

Good afternoon,In terms of the effect on current students, I want to share this paragraph from the announcement:"Lariviere emphasized that current students will not see their studies disrupted by the reorganization. Degree programs will be moved intact within the new structure to protect the integrity of those programs for current students. All students in current degree programs will be able to complete their program of study."More details can be found here: http://www.news.ku.edu/2008/october/14/finearts.shtmlJack MartinUniversity Communications

tangential_reasoners_anonymous 6 years, 7 months ago

WIndlass: "Can Conservatives draw anything other than a big red circle?"And have you ever seen them try to paint the inside of that circle, once drawn? One error outside the boundary, then another, and another....The circle just keeps getting bigger and bigger.They just can't stay within the lines.

sjschlag 6 years, 7 months ago

sounds like something fishy is going on over in Murphy Hall....I still don't get why the "School of the Arts" is part of CLAS? That spells a recipe for neglect and disaster in the department of art. CLAS is a huge school, and look at how well Theater and Film are doing as part of it. Why does Music get to be it's own school with only 325 undergraduate students, yet with 763 undergraduates the School of the Arts has to be under the umbrella of CLAS? Doesn't seem fair to me. The Design Department has some things to worry about too, if they don't stand up to the architecture people. The school of design could be a very good asset for architecture, they just need to be willing to work with the programs. I'm scared for the school of the arts- very scared.

tyderian 6 years, 7 months ago

I moved to Lawrence in early 2008 to be a doctoral student in the KU music department. Over the summer, several members of the music faculty admitted to me that the department has gotten out of hand with politics and red tape. They said there would be an impending reorganization as a "School of Music" in order to cut down on politics and to stay competitive with other large universities where those music departments were reorganized into "Schools of Music".As a former music graduate student at Wichita State University and the University of Connecticut, I didn't think it was all that bad at KU until the fall semester began. What I found was rigged ensemble auditions, nickel and diming for just about every expense under the sun, music theory diagnostic exams that made the graduate theory exams at UConn look like second-grade spelling, faculty who are so burnt out and overextended that they can't wait to take their next sabbatical, a department that accepts anybody and everybody as students, favoritism, secret handshakes, and I could go on.It was so bad that I dropped out of the DMA program in the second week of class. Immediately, the interim graduate studies director was ORDERING me into her office for "discussions". I showed up, only to find that she had double-booked me with other students.After those 2 weeks as a KU music doctoral student, what was immediately apparent was that the department is so bloated it doesn't know what to do with itself. There are certain faculty members who have been there for so long that they can do pretty much anything with no oversight. I discovered I had not pushed the right buttons when it came to shaking hands and currying favor with certain people. I wasn't playing in this brass band or that undergraduate music program. I didn't have this famous person as a former teacher and I wasn't on the list for that prestigious competition.So to sum up all of these criticisms succinctly: the KU music department, especially the doctoral program, admits too many students. How can it admit so many people, when it expects to cut down so many with the draconian entrance exams and academic standards? We all expect the program to be academically rigorous, but it goes overboard. They told me that they EXPECT incoming graduate students to fail the entrance exams. In the end, this just equates to forcing students to enroll in make-up work, which drives up the student/credit hour ratio, which increases the tuition money that these guys gets, and really that's the bottom line. Nowhere other than KU will a student be so much a number, and nothing more. And that maybe is the biggest program with the music department, and maybe the university and the Kansas system of higher education as a whole.

eastcoasthawk 6 years, 7 months ago

Not sure how this will affect fine arts students but it could have a serious impact on music students. Will the music education and therapy students now be rolled into the new School of Music? It never made sense to me that music education was outside the music program.

Mixolydian 6 years, 7 months ago

Fambrough awarded the game ball to the band in 1981 after a conference win. When was the last time something like that happened?

blindrabbit 6 years, 7 months ago

To TheOriginalCA and others, my prior comments were intended to be constructive, although they did seem to be somewhat condesending and critical. I have been attending KU football games since the mid-fifties and so I can speak to apparent problems within the Marching Band.The Band and Athletic Depts. seem to be either out-of-sync or competing with each other; as evidenced by the pregame music battles. I don't know about the internal politics within the Music Department or within the "greater" University.As for my allegiance, our business (through the "KU Business Partners") ponied-up for a substantial contribution for "New uniforms purchase" several years ago. No complaint, but we are disappointed with the seeming lack of support with the university.Best of luck, especially to the hard working band members.

tyderian 6 years, 7 months ago

"kitnkat" wrote: Tyderian,Maybe the reason you didn't succeed as a M&D grad is because you suck and they let you in out of some misguided hope for your future.I think you could look at the number of auditions I've won, as well as the other programs I was accepted into before I chose KU, as evidence of the fact that I don't suck. Maybe YOU at some point tried to get into KU (or another school) and were turned away. Maybe you're just covering for your own inadequacies. Maybe you should also keep your comments about people sucking to yourself.By the way, my parents didn't tell me things like "Oh honey that was wonderful!", but I understand if your parents did. Look how far it got you!

gl0ck0wn3r 6 years, 7 months ago

Tyderian... Your comments apply to 75% of KU. I've never seen a university do less with more.

Tristan Moody 6 years, 7 months ago

Maybe this will help the school of music stop hemorrhaging faculty. In the span of four years, the school has lost two athletic band directors, a director of bands, two percussion professors, and a number of other instrumental professors. These were all people who moved on to other schools. Something is seriously wrong, and hopefully this can help fix it.

tyderian 6 years, 7 months ago

I moved to Lawrence in early 2008 to be a doctoral student in the KU music department. Over the summer, several members of the music faculty admitted to me that the department has gotten out of hand with politics and red tape. They said there would be an impending reorganization as a "School of Music" in order to cut down on politics and to stay competitive with other large universities where the music departments were reorganized into "Schools of Music".As a former music graduate student at Wichita State University and the University of Connecticut, I didn't think it was all that bad at KU until the fall semester began. What I found was rigged ensemble auditions, nickel and diming for just about every expense under the sun, music theory diagnostic exams that made the graduate theory exams at UConn look like second-grade spelling, faculty who are so burnt out and overextended that they can't wait to take their next sabbatical, a department that accepts anybody and everybody as students, favoritism, secret handshakes, and I could go on.It was so bad that I dropped out of the DMA program in the second week of class. Immediately, the interim graduate studies director was ORDERING me into her office for "discussions". I showed up, only to find that she had double-booked me with other students.After those 2 weeks as a KU music doctoral student, what was immediately apparent was that the department is so bloated it doesn't know what to do with itself. There are certain faculty members who have been there for so long that they can do pretty much anything with no oversight. I discovered I had not pushed the right buttons when it came to shaking hands and currying favor with certain people. I wasn't playing in this brass band or that undergraduate music program. I didn't have this famous person as a former teacher and I wasn't on the list for that prestigious competition.So to sum up all of these criticisms succinctly: the KU music department, especially the doctoral program, admits too many students. How can it admit so many people, when it expects to cut down so many with the draconian entrance exams and academic standards? We all expect the program to be academically rigorous, but it goes overboard. They told me that they EXPECT incoming graduate students to fail the entrance exams. In the end, this just equates to forcing students to enroll in make-up work, which drives up the student/credit hour ratio, which increases the tuition money that these guys get, and really that's the bottom line. Nowhere other than KU will a student be so much a number, and nothing more. And that maybe is the biggest program with the music department, and maybe the university and the Kansas system of higher education as a whole.

Kookamooka 6 years, 7 months ago

Music Ed IS inside the music department. They just held classes in other buildings.

Mixolydian 6 years, 7 months ago

The CU band blew away the KU nand on the field? Not. CU played a weak medley of Journey tunes that were lame in the 70's and made those poor kids do a god awful embarassing dance to boot. I was impressed by KU's tune selection at half. That Freebird arrangment was tight.Don't take away Sunflower song during the pregame. That's a huge tradition. The band does need to kick it up several notches in the stands though. A little tepid, especially compared to the CU band.

KU_cynic 6 years, 7 months ago

The new School of Music would appear to be the smallest such school on campus. Will there be a "dean" of the School of Music? How many music faculty are we talking about? Seems to me that a School of Performing Arts, i.e., including theatre, would have made more sense and allowed for some economies of scale. Likewise, will there be a department chair of the School of Arts within the CLAS, or a dean, or an associate dean, or what? Frankly, I'm aware of some of the organizational issues in the current structure, but I would have preferred hiring a strong and talented dean who could advocate on behalf of all arts programs. I fear that advocacy will be weakened.I fear for the artists and performers who will be under the CLAS. Ultimately their "scholarship" via performances will be compared to output of books and articles by other professors at college level P&T. Likewise, I fear for design professors now in the School of Architecture. Finally, I fear for the fundraising on behalf of the fine arts programs relocated to other areas. Somehow I fear that fundraising efforts by the KUEA on behalf of the arts programs will be diluted.

kitnkat 6 years, 7 months ago

Take it from some one who knows, this is going to be a REALLY good thing. And stop with the "oh the poor band". They're better off than you know.

SoupBone 6 years, 7 months ago

More power for the provost office...hmmm

britt408 6 years, 7 months ago

Music education has actually been a part of the music program and the School of Fine Arts for at least as long as I've been here, not the School of Ed. I'm not sure what you mean by it always being "outside of the music program." So logically, yes, music ed and therapy students will be in the School of Music.I think this is good for all students and it's something faculty have been pushing for for awhile. KU was one of the only major universities with a department of music...heck, even Mizzou has a School of Music. A school with the high-caliber faculty and students that the KU Music Dept. has deserves to be its own school. Now M&D and A&D won't be at conflict with each other and they each have their own individual entity.

Kookamooka 6 years, 7 months ago

The "con" that many schools at KU, including music, rig up to require more credits for more tuition is as transparent as Wonder Woman's jet. If the courses required were interesting and enlightening, I could see paying more to take them, but they often aren't. In this day of consumer driven educational choices (on-line degrees and flexible programs at great colleges and universities) KU is a behemoth.

britt408 6 years, 7 months ago

sjschlag - if you're going to base school organization solely on numbers of students, then why is it fair to the thousands of students under the umbrella of "CLAS?" What about the couple hundred students in the School of Social Welfare?? Should they be consolidated somewhere? It's more than just number of students...each discipline has different needs and requirements. A School of Music has its own unique challenges and needs than does a liberal arts school.

blindrabbit 6 years, 7 months ago

Forgot to add in previous blog:that, that "Sunflower Song" is terrible especially played in the stadium. If we want some Kansas connection, I'd play a "juiced-up" "Home On The Range".I'm sure the "Lookie Loos" on the West side of Stadium would protest to such heresy; but some changes are needed.

Michael Stanclift 6 years, 7 months ago

I think people here will find a reason to complain about anything.

kitnkat 6 years, 7 months ago

Tyderian,Maybe the reason you didn't succeed as a M&D grad is because you suck and they let you in out of some misguided hope for your future. I know for a FACT that they don't admit everyone who applies to the department. Do you know how many people think they are musicians when they really aren't? Mom & Dad aren't exactly doing them any favors by saying "Oh honey that was wonderful!" As for the exams are you saying that because their tests are hard that they should just let up so people can get in? Weren't you just saying that they let in too many people? Make up your mind! And the reason they expect students to fail the exams is because they aren't getting the education they need as undergrads. Others schools, sadly, don't expect as much from their students as the M&D department does. Oh and KU_Cynic:Yes there will be a Dean of the School of Music. Why isn't there a School of Performing Arts because Theatre flat out refuses. They prefer being in CLAS.

blindrabbit 6 years, 7 months ago

My comments are probably not related to the lead story, but I wanted to vent anyway! Maybe KU needs to establish a School of Marching Bands after the shellacking I witnessed by the CU Band at half-time recent football game. KU's musical selection sounded like a funeral dirge. It was apparent which group the fans enjoyed!New uniforms, greater number of muscians are improvements; but what is really needed is more enthusiasm and a more "with-it" musical selection.

Kookamooka 6 years, 7 months ago

I'm pretty sure theater was part of CLAS with communications in the 1980's. I think the Dance department was too.

Dismas 6 years, 7 months ago

When I was a graduate student in music in the early 1990's, music ed was actually part of the school of education, not the department of music. This changed in the late 1990's, I believe. Maybe someone recalls the actual year the change took place.

TheOriginalCA 6 years, 7 months ago

Blindrabbit, there is quite a bit to what you are tring to expose here. First of all, the KU Band "USED" to be one of the best. Damaging politics by a staff member (who is no longer there), poor treatment by the athletic department, lack of funding, and total stupidity by the Fine Arts administration perpetuated a 15 year downward spiral of the KU Band. The Fine Arts administration played games with the KU Band Staff and wasn't straight with them, hid things from them, and miscommunicated. The Athletic Department didn't fund the band nearly as well as all of the other division one schools, and the thing that seemed to rip the rug out from under the band as well was when loud blaring music was played right over the top of the band right in the middle of when the KU Band was already playing. The marching band was screwed time and time again while they are participating and playing for one hour of credit and no pay. They have to pay uniform fees on top of that. In the years past when the football team was awful, the band was the best.. literally. In 1988 the football team was the worst in the NCAA while the band won the Sudler trophy for being the best. Bill Mayer and Chuck Woodling used to say things like, "It's too bad that we can't have the band play for four quarters and the football team play at halftime."The state of the Fine Arts department and their ignorance of the KU Band coupled with the KUAD is to blame here. Please remember all of the hard work, dilligence, and dedication that the individual band members put in so that the football team can be supported, so that the crowd can be entertained, and to help promote the image of the University of Kansas during televised games. In the wake of the suspension of the University of Wisconsin marching band a couple of weeks ago for poor behavior, the KU Band is awesome.Hold onto your hat, this band has gotten much better and is going to get a lot better even yet. Stand back and enjoy.

tyderian 6 years, 7 months ago

I've already enumerated my problems with the KU music department. I'm not going to go into it again. Sometimes the truth hurts. Maybe it's time for some of you pro-KU people to face it.

kitnkat 6 years, 7 months ago

That's it? That's your big come back?? I said you suck so of course I must suck? Please, if you had "won" so many other auditions at fantastic schools, why did you end up here at KU? You were only here for two weeks, what kind of "politics" could you have encountered? You didn't get into the ensemble you wanted? Maybe they didn't feel you were the right material for the ensemble. Maybe they had enough people in your instrument that played better than you already in the ensemble. There are a number of reasons why you didn't make it and 99.9% of them had nothing to do with politics or how the department is run. And this an opinion blog, I'm allowed to put my opinion out there. If you don't like it don't read it.

Youfist 6 years, 7 months ago

Tyderian,It's funny you mention the diagnostic exams being "draconian." Funny because as I recall you slept through the second day of them. KU's music department does have high standards, and it's a good thing too. The world has enough mediocre music students that already saturate the limited field, why should you or anyone else complain about the department wanting to help remedy that situation, unless you were only looking to coast through another degree to join the ranks of that perpetual medocrity?You say it was so bad that you dropped out in the second week. If it was that bad, why come back, drop out a second time, come back a second time, and finally (for a world record) drop out a third time? Sounds like you weren't committed in the first place and are pointing to anything and everything else but the real source of the problem: your level of committment.Although you are right about the secret handshakes. If you don't have double-jointed thumbs they can't be performed. That's where they get most students...

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