Update: University Theatre Department Maybe Not So Dead

Good-ish news, I think: Kathleen Irwin, the head of the U of R’s theatre department, popped into the comments section of my last post and dropped some knowledge:

As of May 1 2012, the Theatre Department began to focus attention on the delivery of its core degree, the BA in Theatre and Performance. We see this as a way of consolidating our course offerings into a unified, flexible degree that optimizes our skills and resources and enables students to choose widely from a menu of courses that reaches across the Fine Arts disciplines or to pursue training in selected streams within the art form (Acting, Design/ Stage Management).

We believe that this will educate students to be broad thinking and resourceful in their approach to creativity while they are here at the university and when they graduate into the world beyond whether they chose to pursue further training in theatre, a professional career or higher education.

In reality, nothing changes in the delivery of our program other than the name change. In doing this we feel we are reflecting a current shift across North America in the delivery of performance-based undergraduate training by allowing our student more control over their course of study. We are excited to offer a more progressive degree – A BA in Theatre and Performance that will highlight traditional training in addition to innovative courses in creative technologies and community-oriented practice.

While we will, as of January 1 2013, suspend admissions to the BFA stream, we continue to admit students into the new BA stream in Theatre and Performance. Current BFA students have 6 years to complete their BFA degree.

A bunch of that is still in worrisome language (I have an instinctive distrust of phrases like “innovative courses in creative technologies and community oriented practice,” because I have an instinctive distrust of pretty much anything approaching jargon) but any assurances that the program will still be delivered are welcome ones.

Author: Webmaster

The technical uberlord of the Prairie Dog website.

25 thoughts on “Update: University Theatre Department Maybe Not So Dead”

  1. Morning Barb! I’ve added a link from John’s original post to this new post so readers can have a more complete picture of the theatre department’s status.

    A researcher/fact checker position is on my Christmas wish list although there’s a lot of toys ahead of that…

  2. Thank you for following up on this. Not to belabour a point, but a new hire in the Theatre Department (Dr. Rebecca Caines, has enabled us to offer a range of innovative courses in creative technology and community practice.
    Kathleen Irwin

    Fall 2012

    CTCH 200AA Sound Art
    This course introduces the artistic practice of sound art. It covers a range of sound art practices including avant-garde sound, Musique Concrète, sound and 1960s art movements, electroacoustic music, sound sculpture, radio art, Acoustic Ecology, community-engaged sound art, sound art in performance, and new media. Includes practical exercises.

    CTCH 200AB Introduction to Ipad Orchestra
    This class explores the potential of the Apple iPad tablet as a musical instrument, and as a tool to enhance music teaching, learning, composing, and performing. All enrolled students will participate in a new performance ensemble “The University of Regina iPad Orhcestra”. Music students, computer science students and those interested in experimental performance are encouraged to enrol.

    Winter 2013
    THAC 360AE Community-based performance
    This course aims to prepare educators and theatre artists for professional performance practice working in community contexts. Practical acting, directing, writing and devising exercises will accompany an analysis of international community-based artforms, including experimental contemporary community arts and youth arts.

    CTCH 110 – Creative Technologies (in catalogue)

    This course investigates the creative use of technology. It explores how computer hardware and software, machinery and gadgets and devices, and networks (including social networks) are used in the production of works of visual art, music, theatre, film and new media; and how creativity shapes new technologies. No prerequisite.

  3. The problem with the story wasn’t that the facts were wrong, it’s that the story was incomplete. Thank goodness Kathleen Irwin was monitoring this post and was able to provide the appropriate context and information.

    If this was a piece of journalism, one would expect the writer to have checked with the university and/or the Theatre department to see what their version of events was, and include that in the story. As a blog post, it was incomplete and it succeeded in creating confusion and panic.

    I realise this is a voluntary blog post, and I salute PD’s blog for its engagement with issues around the city, but I would hope in the future people will try and understand a story before posting information about it.

  4. @4, amen to that. The first rule of journalism, even the alternative variety, and not excluding blogs, is “verify”.

  5. The problem with the original post did not lie with John. There were no factual errors. The UofR’s press release provided incomplete information. Once more information was released, the story was updated. This is the way news works in the 21st Century.

  6. Of course the problem with the original post lies with John. He’s the one who posted a story he didn’t research or fully understand. He didn’t misstate facts, but he didn’t understand the wider picture and he didn’t try and get a sense of what the wider picture might be before he posted this.

    The story was only corrected when someone who knew more about what was happening provided the context and background. If that person hadn’t been following the blog, the confusion and misinterpretations cause by John’s original post would still be spreading. If that’s the way news works in the 21st century, then we have big problems.

    I don’t want to single out John on this. There are many of us out there posting things we don’t fully understand, and so the public is working with incomplete information at best, and gossip and rumour at worst.

    PD and the PD Blog are two of the best sources of information on what’s happening in Regina. But before information is circulated, there needs to be some rigour applied. Checking some sources before posting isn’t a bad place to start.

  7. I guess the Provost & Vice-President (Academic) of the University of Regina can’t be trusted as a primary source. Fair enough.

  8. @8: bang on.
    @9: oh, give it up, Emmet. Mr. Cameron did a wrong thing, and all your contortions to excuse him only get you a date with a chiropractor.

  9. I’m sorry you’re unable to be objective on this, Barb. Watch your tone. I do not tolerate personal insults.

  10. Hey folks!

    Like I said in the last post, transparency is a pretty huge issue with the University of Regina – as I wrote, “the decision-making process itself, the information that the board acts on, and the rationale behind decisions are occluded from public view.” There wasn’t really a public aspect to the release of this information, and as such, I went with what I was working on. I sent a couple of emails out yesterday afternoon, went to work at 5, read this comment on my break and – as you can see – updated the post at 12:40 A.M., after I got home from my shift and showered, and proceeded to link this post on my Facebook and on Twitter, where it had gained whatever meagre traction it already had earlier in the day.

    Blogging is nothing without the occasional mea culpa, and having Kathleen Irwin check in with a clarification of what “Revision to Bachelor of Arts, Major: Theatre and Performance – refocusing the program around available resources to offer higher flexibility and relevance to students” means was, like I said in the above post, a mea culpa I was willing to make.

  11. I realize we’re talking about this particular subject, post, but c’mon. Do you guys watch the news? Listen to the radio? Read the paper? Why single out the P.Dawg? Established, mainstream media make a living on omission-oriented, not-followed-up-on news release journalism. Like #6 said. Only, you’re damn lucky if you even get an update these days.

  12. @11: as to who lacks objectivity on this topic, see mirror. As to tone, I refer you to your own @9. As to tolerance level, I guess you like to dish it out but can’t take it.
    @13: the dog blog, when it screws up, should be held as accountable as any other medium. Your position is special pleading. @3, @4, and @8, and commentors on the earlier post, did the proper job of reporting.

  13. Again, the dog blog did not screw up. Both the prairie dog and John have been nothing but accountable and transparent throughout the development of this story. Baseless accusations and personal insults do not change these facts.

  14. And again, I refer you to those besides me who repectfully disagree, and who are disappointed that the dog blog fell below standard.

  15. Those are your feelings, and I respect your feelings, but they do not reflect actual, objective facts.
    The Provost’s office released a communique that unambiguously announced the suspension of the BFA Theatre program. John’s blog post was a legitimate and fair reading of that communique. As new information was revealed, it was presented promptly and accurately.
    As best as I can tell from the complaints about John’s post, the “below standard” “screw up” is that John took the Provost’s office at their (unfortunately muddled) word.

  16. Not feelings but thoughts prompted my comments. My point, and that of others on this post and the previous one, was that Mr. Cameron most emphatically should have sought further information. What journalist worth a damn ever takes only one piece of information as gospel? Crosscheck; verify.

  17. You are in fact saying, then, that the U of R Provost & Vice-President (Academic) should not be considered a reliable primary source.
    Let us be clear and unambiguous about that.
    John’s sin was that he trusted an official document from the University of Regina.

  18. You’re putting words in my mouth, Emmet; another weakness on your part. Reporters worth their salt always seek clarification, communique or no.

  19. Barb, I warned you about the personal insults.
    I put no words in your mouth. I am unweaseling your words. You come on the blog, impugn prairie dog and its writers with baseless accusations and venomous invective and then shrivel up when anyone stands up to your toxic bullshit. If “Mr. Cameron most emphatically should have sought further information” (which he did, by the way) doesn’t equate to “John’s sin was that he trusted an official document from the University of Regina” then explain yourself, don’t attack my character.

  20. Once more, I refer you to other commentors besides me who have made their cases about the post; I guess agreeing with them is to “impugn” pd and one of its writers for leaping into print (or the blog equivalent thereof)before having all the facts and causing needless worry to people. The only “toxic bullshit” I spy, with my unshrivelled eye, is yours. By the way, you might want to recheck your last sentence for clarity and coherence.

  21. @14 Since when are news sources held accountable for omissions anymore? The PDawg is not getting away with anything every other news outlet doesn’t get away with it, if, in fact, there is something here to get away with. The other thing being ‘gotten away with’ as E.M. pointed out is U of R admin murkiness. We should expect better from our educators, such as professional bullshitter Ray Boughen (federal boundaries presentation), but they are starting to take tips from the fracking industry.

  22. Sometimes an argument beautifully articulates a situation. Emmet’s blunt explanation of how the news process works in the 21st century and his correct conclusion that confusion started with a crummy press release and John didn’t make a mistake is bang-on. But Barb’s stubborn expectation for thorough reporting that doesn’t get tripped up by incomplete facts is invaluable and makes us (and other media) better. And John’s hard work and insight is terrific, as usual.

    Thanks! Everybody please keep it up.

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