A Holistic, Interdisciplinary Approach to Arts Degrees

The impetus behind this article came as our program evolved and grew stronger after a three-year evaluation of the academic programs throughout the entirety of the institution (we are now entering year three of the new programs in place). This form of massive restructuring from administrations comes under the auspices of maintaining quality within curriculum, and providing adequate resources/infrastructure for our faculty, students, and staff members. Those of us who have been in academia long enough have been part of this process more than once, and we have negative feelings towards the administrators and their numbers game, which often uses strictly budgetary restraints and quantitative reasoning/assessment to determine the value or the fate of programs over that of qualitative results. Regardless of our differences and/or similarities in our respective institutions, we are fighting to maintain our identities within today’s university system, which is seemingly under fire as trends in demographics are foreboding of harder times to come due to sheer declining numbers of available students, and significantly reduced federal and state funding for the arts.  

Many of the challenges we are facing are not that different than those our mentors dealt with in academia. The next generation is becoming responsible for continued reshaping of the field, as they strive to uphold the standards and beliefs of our predecessors, while also trying to adapt to an ever-changing culture. Technology has been increasing at such rapid rates that it can be daunting and a struggle to maintain this growth, while concurrently having seemingly endless possibilities to find interdisciplinary connections to expand not only the scope of our field for our students, but to also engage the broader community at large. Along with are the constant revaluation and alterations to programs before the administration has even had chance to recognize success (which takes time).