The Arizona Desert Lamp

White Paper: College of Fine Arts

Posted in UA Transformation Plan by Evan Lisull on 22 October 2008

Usually, the fine arts are associated with lots of wishy-washy, artsy-fartsy talk, while the scientists and engineers actually get things done. Yet when push actually comes to shove, it is those ‘productive’ hard-science types whose tongues are tied in knots, while the College of Fine Arts has led the way in actually doing things.

In fact, the full title of the white paper, “Ongoing Restructuring of the College of Fine Arts,” highlights the fact that the CoFA has already anticipated the Transformation Plan, and has gotten a head start:

Eliminated Area Studies:  The College of Fine Arts has actively engaged in a transformation process moving its identification and national image to a strengthened  “professional preparation mission” and augmenting those program areas that have the best potential to be best.  The teams endorse our transformation to be a role model that mirrors current goals.  In the process of transformation he following areas of study, degree majors or CFA degrees have already have been or are in the process of being suspended, eliminated or phased
out:

Radio Broadcasting                       MFA in Acting
Metals and Jewelry Design             MA in Dance Kinesiology
Television Production                    MFA in Directing
Electronic Journalism                     MFA in Play Writing
Fiber Arts                                      MFA in Digital Arts
Internet Media                               BFA in Art Therapy
Music Therapy                               BFA in New Genre/Performance Art
Internet Entertainment Design       Peter Treistman Center for Research in New Media

The idea of a “professional preparation mission” does give rise to a sense of ill-ease. There seems something contradictory about prepared arts majors for professionalism, rather than encouraging creativity. Yet at the same time, large institutions aren’t exactly known for encouraging creative thought; creativity is an individual impulse, and one that is inherently encouraged in any art school environment.

While many of these eliminated areas of study may sound appealing, this doesn’t mean that these aspects of life are gone forever. A student interested in radio broadcasting can get involved with KAMP. Students interested in Internet media — well, res ipsa loquitur.

Furthermore, the school has also eliminated 4.5 Full-time equivalents (FTEs; basically, four and a half full-time workers).

This evidence of fat-cutting is used to precede the following paragraph:

The consensus of the overwhelming majority of college personnel is that further consolidation of the five units would not be in our best interest for our overall national reputation, recruitment of top students, or expanding patron and community financial support.  We have not fully explore alternative savings but, will continue to explore ways to share resources with other colleges or be affiliating interdisciplinary partners hips with Humanities, SBS, Education, Engineering and Architecture.   We are in the midst of an instructional technology servicing efficiency audit by UITS.  The audit will advise us on efficiency and management of these services and examine the potential to share or combine resources.  In it’s first draft the audit team finds: “ The assessment team sees no obvious way to save money in the operations of Fine Arts Technology.   Every service that is offered by UITS will cost more than the college is now spending.”   Nonetheless, they offer a seven-page document that suggests alternative income potential and clarify essential leadership goals for CFA’s management of such services.   In comparing Fine Arts to other campus models they state:  “…none has achieved the economy of services achieved by the CFA and none has any higher level of user satisfaction.”

The school also includes a list of proposals that were ultimately nixed, none of which are really worth going through. All in all, the CoFA has made strides in tightening its belt; the UA could probably tighten up by focusing on some of the more larded programs on campus instead.

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