In the Fall of 2013, the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Washington launched the Musical Theater Program in collaboration with the Schools of Music and Drama and the Dance Program. This new academic degree cultivates and nurtures the creative artistry of highly motivated students who wish to develop their combined talent as singers, actors and dancers. During the initial pilot period, the Musical Theater Program has offered its cohort a dynamic program of coursework, performance-based projects, fully staged productions, and workshops led by musical theater faculty and guest artists.
Three years into the five year pilot, it is now important for us to conduct an academic review. In the coming months, the Musical Theater Program’s faculty steering committee will write a self-study and then a review committee composed of faculty from both inside and outside the UW will conduct a site visit, including interviews with students, faculty and staff. Such reviews are customary for all academic programs at the UW, and their outcomes include a clearer understanding of: the academic unit’s quality of instruction, research, and public service; value to students’ general education and preparation for society; role within the University and effectiveness in fulfilling that role; resource requirements; and future objectives and changes necessary to achieve them.
Given the small administrative size of the program and in order to give full focus and energy to complete a thoughtful and detailed review, the Musical Theater Program has elected to suspend recruitment for the 2017-2018 year. We have canceled the online auditions and on-campus callbacks to focus on our review. We apologize that this decision was finalized after the deadline for the University of Washington application and after our online audition page opened for submissions. However, before committing to a new incoming class of students beyond the initial pilot period, the university must first fulfill its responsibility to assess the program’s academic trajectory and determine a long-term sustainability plan.
It is important to note that suspending the recruitment efforts for the upcoming academic year does not affect the current cohort and their successful completion of their degree. As before, the courses that make up most of the Musical Theater Program’s curriculum will remain open and accessible to all registered students at the University of Washington.
I am optimistic that this review process will allow us to see a clearer picture of everything we have been able to achieve so far and how best to center our efforts for potential and continual growth.
Director, University of Washington Musical Theater Program