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Department of Theatre and Dance
Department of Theatre and Dance
Last updated 1/7/2003
Knowledge and skill goals for this undergraduate degree program are recorded in
the most recent CU-Boulder catalog.
In some summaries of assessment activity, goals are referred to by number
(e.g., K-2 is knowledge goal 2).
Assessment before 1998
Professor Merrill Lessley is the Department's Outcome Assessment
Coordinator. In February 2002, he submitted a report to the Assessment
Oversight Committee that detailed outcome assessment efforts through
Spring 2000. This report by Chair Oliver Gerland covers the period
between Fall 2000 and Spring 2002.
OUTCOMES ASSESSMENT PLAN
Dance undergraduate students take written diagnostic tests as
freshmen and again as seniors. Theatre students take their assessment
exam only in the senior year. (We are introducing a freshman diagnostic
AY 2002-03). These assessment examinations are administered during a
class period. They are then reviewed by the faculty and discussed with
Videotaping and Portfolio Review
Dance undergraduate students are videotaped as freshmen and each
subsequent year they are in the program. Dance faculty members meet with
the students during their senior year to review these tapes. Faculty
members write an evaluation (kept on file) of the student's overall
progress. Dance BA students must bring a resume to their senior
interview and Dance BFA students must provide a portfolio with
photographs of their work. Theatre BFA students are evaluated at the end
of each semester on the basis of their work in class and for theatre
productions. Performance BFA students are videotaped during their
"Audition Techniques" studio: a faculty member discusses with students
their videotaped audition. BFA students in the Theatre Design &
Technology track are required to submit portfolios of their creative
work each December for review by a faculty panel.
All students (theatre and dance, undergraduate and graduate) are
encouraged to meet with the Chair or Associate Chairs for exit
interviews during which they respond to a standard set of questions
about their academic and production experience. Students are not
identified by name in the exit interview report; only their degree
program is noted.
OUTCOMES ASSESSMENT RESULTS
During 2000-2002, department faculty continued to modify senior
assessment examinations to better match the tests to the experience of
different student populations.
The dance faculty substantially revised its written assessment exam
to more accurately reflect recent curricular changes. The average senior
test score during this period for Dance BFA students was 78 (out of 100)
whereas for Dance BA students it was 71 (out of 100). (BFA students,
with approximately 20 more department credit hours than BA students,
tend to score higher on these examinations). The average score on the
first year exam was 30, approximately 45 percentage points below the
The average test score of theatre BA and BFA students in the theatre
senior assessment exam during this period was 58% (57% in 2000 and 60%
in 2001). Overall, theatre students did better on the one sentence
identification questions (drawn from performance, technology and theatre
history/dramatic literature classes) than they did on the questions
requiring them to name plays and playwrights. The theatre division
anticipates a significant revision of the exam in the next two years,
reflecting a recent major curricular revision that gives students more
upper division flexibility.
Videotaping and Portfolio Reviews
These activities continue to be effective and appreciated by the
students as preparations to enter "the real world" of the theatre and
Exit interviews remain an effective way to stay in touch with
undergraduate students' concerns. From 2000 to 2002, the department
graduated 14 Dance BAs, 7 Dance BFAs, 26 Theatre BAs, and 26 Theatre
BFAs. We have exit interview reports from 6 Dance BAs, 3 Dance BFAs, 16
Theatre BAs, 19 Theatre BFAs (for an average response rate of 60%).
Several important curricular changes have been made during the
2000-02 period, in part in response to concerns expressed in these and
earlier exit interviews:
- Dance BA students have called for additional Ballet classes.
The dance division has clarified and broadened its curriculum,
adding new BA emphasis tracks in Ballet and World Dance & Culture.
- Theatre BA students regularly express the perception that BFA
students are favored by the faculty in theatre production casting.
(BFA students are indeed cast more often but this is because the
faculty judges them to have greater talent and they have received
additional training). The faculty believes that the BAs'
perception arises from lack of strong sense of community in the
theatre division and a lack of production opportunities. To
address the first area of concern, we have instituted a new
introductory course called "Theatre Foundations" in which all
freshman students participate and can begin to develop strong ties
to one another and to the theatre community here at CU. Addressing
the second area of concern is more difficult given our scarce
resources in terms of space and faculty oversight. Lack of
supervised production opportunities is a problem the faculty
(theatre and dance alike) continues to struggle to solve in an era
of shrinking resources.
- Theatre and Dance students alike would like to see more
interaction between the two divisions. Increased theatre and dance
cooperation was called for in the most recent PRP report, and the
exit interviews underscore the importance of this goal. Recent
curriculum responses include the development of a graduate-level
course called "Design for Dancers" co-taught by theatre costume
design faculty member Janice Benning and dance faculty members
David Capps and Bob Shannon called "Design for Dancers." As well,
a recent curriculum change has led to the requirement that dance
students take theatre stagecraft classes. Finally, improved
cooperation between theatre and dance students is also visible in
recent productions supported by the department such as the
On-Stage "BoulderFringe Festival." Theatre faculty member Ted
Stark, costume shop supervisor, deserves special mention--and is
often highly praised by exiting students--for his commitment to
building up the theatre and dance community here at CU.
OUTCOMES ASSESSMENT FUTURE
The theatre division is implementing a freshman
diagnostic to complement the senior diagnostic this year (exam to be
given in THTR 1019: Theatre Foundations which is required of all THTR
majors). Also, the theatre division will be undertaking a significant
revision of the diagnostic exam in light of recent curricular changes.
Finally, both the theatre and dance divisions look forward to enhancing
the videotaping of student performances. Ideally, we would like to help
BFA students prepare a videotape or website of their work that could be
used not only for outcomes assessment purposes but also as an
introduction to the profession.
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