The Department of Dance BA Revision Process
The BA Revision Committee Members:
- Juliet McMains (committee chair)
- Rachael Lincoln
- Christina Sunardi (summer 2020-winter 2021)
- Rujeko Dumbutshena (summer 2020–spring 2021)
The BA Revision Timeline:
- Summer Quarter 2020: The BA Revision Committee began Stage I (Open Inquiry)
- Winter Quarter 2021: Began Stage II (Solution Focus)
- End of Spring Quarter 2021: Began Stage III (Submission to College & University Curriculum Committees)
- Spring Quarter 2022: Final approval for the new BA received
- Summer Quarter 2022: New degree launched
Guiding Principles for the BA Revision
- The revised major should continue the departments' ongoing work of decentering Western concert dance and increasing the representation of African and Afro-Diasporic dance in the curriculum.
- Equity and access should be a priority. The degree should be accessible to any student, including those who have not had access to formal dance training prior to college.
- The department expects the majority of dance majors to double major and that at least half of the majors will not declare a dance major until their sophomore or junior year. This means the department needs to keep the number of credits required for the major under 65 and minimize the number of sequential courses to ensure flexibility in how students move through the major so it can be accomplished in two years and in conjunction with another degree. (The department still expects some students to declare the major their first year and spend four years in the major, but cannot assume this to be the most common path in the degree.)
- Each graduating major should have the opportunity to work with each full-time faculty member, meaning that the department should distribute who is teaching required courses across full-time faculty.
- The revised major should not result in increased teaching loads for the faculty.
- The BA with a major in dance is a liberal arts degree that takes a broad approach to the study of dance, asking the students to engage with dance as a movement practice, a performance activity, a choreographic enterprise, a social practice, a cultural practice, a subject of scientific inquiry, a subject of historical inquiry, and an agent of sociopolitical change.
Stage I: Open Inquiry
During this first phase, the committee gathered information from students, faculty, and staff about what was working well in the major, what needed improvement, and what ideas people had for changes to the degree. The committee also consulted with peer institutions that offered a BA in dance.
The inquiry included:
The committee reviewed exit surveys completed by graduating seniors between 2018–2020.
Focus Groups with Students
The committee conducted three focus groups with students who had graduated from the major in the past two years or who were entering their senior year in the major. All students in those populations were invited to the focus groups and students self-selected to attend.
Peer Institution Consultation
The committee reviewed degree requirements and curricula at 14 peer institutions and discussed curricula for dance majors with chairs or faculty in 6 departments.
Individual meetings with each faculty and staff member were conducted where they were invited to share what they thought a revised BA curriculum should address.
After each of these activities, the committee prepared a summary report highlighting common themes and presented it to the faculty. At the conclusion of the fall quarter, the faculty held a 3-hour meeting to discuss the department philosophy, which informed the next stage of our process.
Stage II: Solution Focus
During this phase, the committee focused on trying to find solutions to the curricular issues that the inquiry had uncovered.
The activities included:
Four focused planning meetings were held that were open to faculty, staff, and student representatives from the Dance Student Association (DSA) and the Arts Diversity Council (ADC) where the committee presented ideas and issues related to the following four areas:
- Technique classes
- Composition & creative process
- Dance studies
- Music in relation to dance & Production
Core Faculty Meetings
After these four focused sessions, the committee held a series of meetings with core faculty and staff to further refine their recommendations.
Presentation of Recommendations
The committee presented its recommendations to the Department of Dance Diversity Committee for feedback. It also presented its recommendations to the entire department (students, faculty, and staff) in an open Zoom meeting on May 20, 2021, at 12:30 pm.
The department faculty voted on the proposed revisions to the major in May 2021.
Stage III: College and University Curriculum Committee
In June 2021, the committee submitted a formal application for the revised BA to the college curriculum committee. Throughout the fall and winter of 2021-22, several rounds of changes were requested to the proposed revised degree by SCAP and FCAS, which resulted in further changes to the revised degree, which were made in consultation with the full-time faculty. One key change that was requested was that 23 of the credits in the degree be completed at the 300-level or above. In order to maintain the core value that the degree should be accessible to any student, the department renumbered many of the existing courses to better reflect the level of work already being completed in these courses. Throughout the two-year revision process, a total of 30 courses were renamed, renumbered, or added to the curriculum.
Associated Departmental Changes
In response to feedback the committee received during the curriculum revision process, the department implemented the following changes that weren’t officially part of the new curriculum but came out of the revision process with the intention to improve equity and inclusivity in the department.
- Cloaking Courses: In an effort to align the dance course catalog listings with courses that are offered on a regular basis, the department cloaked courses that have not been offered in 5 or more years.
- Updated Dance Studio Guidelines: The department updated the dance studio guidelines so that they are more welcoming to students from diverse backgrounds.
- Performance & Production: The department developed a more extensive web page for the main Department of Dance website on performance and production opportunities, including expectations for performers and crew.
- Continue to diversify the timing of course offerings: Genre hierarchies are implied through timing on the class schedule, so the department has continued to diversify which genres are offered at which time of day, (although some teachers are only available to teach at certain times of the day, so diversification is limited by teacher availability).
Overview Comparison of Changes to the Major Requirements
Changes are indicated in bold.
Former Dance Major Requirements
Revised Dance Major Requirements
Must take all of the following:
Must take all of the following:
Any one of the following Career Transition Courses:
Any one of the following Career Transition Courses:
Any one of the following Dance History courses
Dance Studies Courses***
At least one of the following Dance Studies DIV courses:
At least one additional Dance Studies Course
At least 23 of the credits applied to the major must be at the 300 or 400-level.
|Total credits: 54–56 Credits
Total credits: 56 credits
*Department of Dance Orientation
Starting September 1, 2022, students will be required to complete an online orientation to the department prior to declaring the dance major. In order to create a more equitable learning environment for all majors, this orientation will provide students with information about important topics such as performance opportunities, scholarships, studio use, faculty expertise, student clubs, and other departmental expectations. Existing majors and minors will also be encouraged to complete this orientation.
**Dance Studies Courses (courses may be added to this list, so check with the Dance advisor if you have any questions)
- Dance 232: Somatic Movement Education
- Dance 251: Creative Process
- Dance 295: Creativity as Research
- Dance 365: Screendance Making (Formerly Dance 266)
- Dance 345: Contemporary Dance Histories
- Dance 366: Dance Making: Special Topics
- Dance 415: Dance Research Methods
- Dance 420: Dance Aesthetics
- Dance 490: Special Studies in Dance
- Dance 340: Dance, Gender, and Sexuality (If not used to fulfill Diversity Requirement)
- Dance 355: Dance Power, and Globalization (If not used to fulfill Diversity Requirement)
- Dance 356: Dance, Culture, and Colonization (Formerly Dance 234) (If not used to fulfill Diversity Requirement)
- Dance 357: Diaspora Negra: Afro-Latinx Dance Traditions (Formerly Dance 275) (If not used to fulfill Diversity Requirement)
- Dance 358: African Dance & Culture (Formerly Dance 285) (If not used to fulfill Diversity Requirement)
- Dance 480 Career Explorations for Dance Majors (If not used to fulfill core)
- Dance 494 Dance Teaching Methods (If not used to fulfill core)
Almost any course offered in the department that includes 50% or more of learning activities beyond movement practice (e.g. reading, writing, researching, creating) can fulfill the dance elective requirements. All of the Dance Studies Courses listed above can also count as dance electives as can the following:
- Dance 370: Dance Performance Activities (Formerly Dance 270)
- Dance 450: Dance Internship
- Dance 499: Independent Study
Some courses offered in other departments may be counted as dance electives without a petition. See the Dance advisor (firstname.lastname@example.org) to discuss options.