New Admission Guidelines Announced for Theatre and Dance Degree Programs

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo.,

Nov. 12, 2008 – Students seeking to enter Southeast Missouri State University’s theatre and dance degree programs will be required to meet new admissions guidelines in fall 2009.

Dr. Kenn Stilson, professor of theatre and dance, said, “Now, students will have to audition to get into the program” and will be evaluated not only on their academic record but also their talent in theatre and dance.

“This is part of the natural evolution of our program” which began in 2003, he said. “Since then, we have increased in both size and quality. Now, we are raising the bar. We began setting a new standard over the past five years. The students have exceeded our expectations. ACT scores and grade point averages of our theatre and dance students have risen considerably. The quality of the students we are attracting are the best and the brightest. We are working to ensure that trend continues.”

Stilson says the new admissions guidelines are an effort to control the quality of students in the program.

“We are becoming more competitive and selective,” he said.

The new guidelines are part of an effort by the Department of Theatre and Dance to become nationally accredited in 2010 by both the National Association of Schools of Theatre and the National Association of Schools of Dance.

“Most schools in Missouri don’t have this type of accreditation,” he said.

To that end, Stilson says Southeast’s Department of Theatre and Dance will require specific admission requirements. 

“This makes us more attractive to the strong students. It’s an extremely positive move from our standpoint,” Stilson said.

Under the new guidelines, students will be formally admitted to the bachelor of fine arts in performing arts or the bachelor of arts in theatre and dance degree programs after they have successfully completed 15 overall University credits (which may include developmental courses) while enrolled as a theatre and dance major.

After completing those credits and for admittance into the bachelor of arts in theatre and dance degree program, students must have earned a minimum overall 2.5 grade point average in the theatre and dance major and a minimum overall University 2.0 grade point average; a “C” or better in the theatre and dance 105/305 “Rehearsal and Production;” class; and submitted an application petitioning for admittance into the program. To continue in the bachelor of arts in theatre and dance degree program, candidates must earn a “C” or better in all theatre and dance courses; a “C” or better in all theatre and dance 105/305 “Rehearsal and Production” classes; and maintain a minimum 2.5 grade point average in the theatre and dance major and a minimum overall University 2.0 grade point average.

After completing the 15 University credits, students seeking admittance into the bachelor of fine arts (BFA) in performing arts degree program must have earned a minimum overall 3.0 grade point average within the theatre and dance major and a minimum overall University 2.5 grade point average; have earned a “B” or better in theatre and dance 105/305 “Rehearsal and Production” class; audition or present a portfolio at the BFA Auditions or Portfolio Presentation conducted each spring semester; and demonstrate potential to succeed professionally within his or her selected major through the audition or presentation process, which is approved by the majority of eligible participating theatre and dance faculty using the appropriate departmental evaluation rubric.

To continue in the bachelor of fine arts degree program, BFA candidates must earn a “C” or better in all theatre and dance courses; earn a “B” or better in all theatre and dance 105/305 “Rehearsal and Production” classes; maintain a minimum 3.0 grade point average within the theatre and dance major and a minimum overall University 2.5 grade point average; and demonstrate excellence in the area of professional development by regular and sustained participation in their major area within the department, while continuing to pursue outside professional employment, internships, summer intensives or master classes; and successfully complete an annual jury.

The jury must include participation in a principal role in a faculty-directed/choreographed mainstage production, such as an onstage performance in an acting, dance or musical theatre performance and backstage for a BFA in design. If a BFA candidate in acting, dance or musical theatre is not cast in any spring mainstage productions, the student must participate in the Spring Showcase in conjunction with Directing II or the Last Chance to Dance Informal Concert. Successfully completing an annual jury also includes an oral review with faculty from a student’s major area and a presentation of appropriate printed or electronic materials, such as a headshot and resume for a BFA in acting and musical theatre, a full body photograph and resume for a BFA in dance, and a resume and portfolio for the BFA in design.

Rhonda Weller-Stilson, chair of the Department of Theatre and Dance, says the new standards “are really just raising the quality. We see this as a very positive development.”