COLLEGE of FINE and PERFORMING ARTS Analysis of the Arts at Western November, 2009






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Analysis of the Arts at Western

November, 2009

Strengths, Challenges, Opportunities and Threats

Internal Assessment – Strengths and Opportunities.

The Arts are Critical to the University’s Vision and Mission

The university’s high aspirations cannot be attained without a viable program in the arts.

WWU Vision Statement:Western Washington University will become the premier public comprehensive university in the country through engaged excellence.

WWU Mission Statement. The Western Experience: Western Washington University is committed to engaged excellence in fulfilling its tripartite mission of teaching, scholarship, and community service in a student-centered environment, with a liberal arts foundation and opportunities to develop professional skills.

“Creativity” and “creative work” are extolled throughout the extended university and college mission statements.

CFPA Mission Statement. The College provides for an educational environment enhancing the creation, development, performance, and teaching of the fine and performing arts. Within this environment the College provides for its academic majors while also offering a full spectrum of arts experiences and courses to the general student body.

The goals of the College are consistent with the time-honored aims of higher education and the notion of the “good” society:

(1) to promote civic engagement through the Arts; (2) to provide engaged learning in the Arts;

(3) to support liberal education and professional development associated with the Arts; and, (4) to foster excellence, diversity, and opportunity in and through the Arts.

Reputation and Quality Learning Opportunities:


 Currently Art provides for 2100 seats in art classes for non-majors per year with preferential access to Fairhaven College and Industrial Design students.

 More than 300 students applied to fill the Art department’s 120 openings for fall 2009.

 Western is the only one of nine public institutions in the state, which offers a BFA or BM in all arts areas. (The BFA in Theatre Arts is in development)

 Western is one of two public institutions in the state offering a BFA in Graphic Design.

 Western will be the only public institution in the state to offer a BFA in Theatre Arts

 The fledgling Dance program has quadrupled in size in three years.

 Dance will offer nearly 1000 student credit hours in GURs this year and is unique in offering an on-line course.

 Dance offers the only BFA in Washington (at a public university) and is one of only two to offer a Teaching Endorsement. The only other BFA in Dance offered in this state is at a private college.

 Western’s professional degree programs are strongly grounded in the principles of liberal education. Thus, it remains important that CFPA majors have access to courses in other academic disciplines within the university.

 Top non-CFPA students often choose Western because of the opportunity to also continue training and performing in arts disciplines.

 Western has illustrious graduates currently performing and exhibiting around the country.

 Three former opera students have been selected to perform in NY’s Metropolitan Opera.

 Two graduates of Theatre Arts are top film art designers in Hollywood.

 Western students have garnered awards in competition at the Kennedy Center, in Washington D.C., and its various music ensembles and theatre productions have been selected for appearances at numerous state and regional events.

 Western is a leader state wide in the development of curriculum in the area of “New Media”.

 Western is home to the finest outdoor sculpture collection on any college or university campus west of the Mississippi River.

 The College of Fine and Performing Arts has been chosen as the summer home for both the Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestra (Marrowstone) and the Bellingham Festival of Music.

 Engaged Excellence reflects current practices within the college. The fine and performing arts afford powerful opportunities for student engagement:

o Participation in theatre productions as actors and technicians; o Art exhibits in the President’s and Provost’s Office suites;

o Professional portfolio reviews for graduating students in graphic design; o Outreach performances in the public schools;

o A student operated art gallery;

o Quarterly dance and choreography recitals;

o 1-1 grant-funded work with nationally recognized choreographers; o 1-1 music studio lessons with professionally recognized Music faculty; o Participation in master classes with visiting artists;

o Enrollment in small studio classes in art, dance, and music;

o Participation in music ensemble groups that perform throughout the Northwest.


Niche:Our Differential Advantage

In today’s environment of limited resources and greater competition for students, it is critically important that Western shape its niche within the State higher education system so as to serve the citizenry without unnecessarily duplicating the academic offerings of peer institutions. There are several ways to interpret our preferred niche; one is in relation to the academic programs offered by the state’s four-year institutions, particularly those in the central and northern Puget Sound regions. The following charts show the programmatic themes at the State’s existing and proposed regional institutions as well as the programs in the fine and performing arts at the State’s two research institutions. It clearly shows Western as having a unique niche in the fine and performing arts.

Majors at UW and WSU Branch Campus Sites

UW and WSU branch university campuses plan to emphasize majors in business, education, and nursing, three of the four offer majors in computer science, and two offer majors in digital technology, environmental science, interdisciplinary humanities, English, psychology, and social science. Not one of the State’s new regional public institutions offers a degree program in any of the arts areas.

UW Bothell UW Tacoma WSU Tri-C WSU Van

Anthropology X Biology Business X X X X Computer Sci X X X Digital Tech X X Education X X X X English X X Environmental Sci. X X History X Horticulture X Human Dev X Humanities X X Interdisc A & S X X Mech Engineering X X Nursing X X X X Psychology X X Public Affairs X Science X Social Science X X Social Work X X Technology X Urban Studies X


 BFA and BM Degrees Offered -- Western is the only one of nine public institutions in the state to offer a BFA and BM in all arts areas. (The Theatre BFA is in process).


Art Design X X Art Studio X X X X Music X X X X X Theatre Arts X Dance X Donor Base:

CFPA has one of the strongest donor bases of endowment giving in the university. Prior to the economic downturn, the college and its departments were able to award $168, 015 in endowment-based scholarship funding. This year that number has dropped 67%.

Community Connection:

The college is recognized as the community’s ”window on Western”, providing the strongest interface between the community and the university. This year a new Community Advisory Board was formed to enhance this relationship.


Effective arts outreach on campus and in the communities of Northwest Washington.

 Summer home to Marrowstone (Seattle Youth Symphony) and Bellingham Festival of Music;

 MOTley Crew multicultural outreach performance group;

 DanceMakers elementary school outreach program;

 Sanford Piano Series;

 Western Gallery visits;

 Outdoor Sculpture Collection tours;

 School outreach matinees - More than 1,700 elementary school students from 16 county schools attend CFPA-sponsored events each year.


Internal Assessment – Challenges and Threats.

Studio Course Costs

Low enrollment limits in lesson and studio courses in Art, Music, and Dance place these units among the most costly academic programs in terms of cost-per-student.

 (Non-computer) Equipment Intensive

Academic programs are equipment intensive. The current university model for equipment funding is neither sufficient to meet our needs nor supportive of the type of equipment needed.

Facility Displacement and Infrastructure

Academic facilities are scattered across Bellingham. A proposed capital project, targeted at renovation of the Armory, has risen quickly to the top of the university’s priorities, but if this project isn’t funded, the active presence of a campus arts community will remain limited. In addition, on-campus arts facilities have been ranked as three of the worst seven buildings on campus in a recent study and numerous comments are appearing in student exit surveys regarding the poor status of facilities and the lack technology relevant to the professional field.

Time to Degree

Along with the College of Science and Technology, CFPA transfer majors have the university’s longest to-degree rate (2.9) and, along with Woodring College, the university’s longest year-to-degree rate for freshmen (4.6). It takes an undergraduate CFPA major longer to complete a degree program than in any other college in the university.

External Assessment – Challenges and Threats.

Access to Non-Majors and Non-Minors

To support liberal education, it is important that non-majors have access to GER/GUR courses and other courses in CFPA’s departments and programs. As it stands, because of space and other resource constraints, most courses in CFPA’s departments fill with department majors and pre-majors, leaving little room for students from other areas of campus. This unfortunate

circumstance hampers the campus environment for liberal education and limits opportunities in the arts for non-majors and non-minors.

Impact of Economic Turndown

College scholarships funded by donors have declined to a few thousand dollars with most


High demand Funding Model

The state’s High Demand funding model does not work in the fine and performing arts sector. Specific high demand jobs in the fine and performing arts are difficult to gauge, yet it is impossible to imagine attractive, livable communities without a strong arts presence. This is equally true within Western’s residential learning community. Yet, we strive to improve our internship opportunities with professional companies and work to help students find their first position following graduation.

Access to campus and event parking

Though some changes have helped ease this situation slightly, there still exists a significant access to campus issue for patrons at any arts event. Discussions with community members and arts patrons reveal that parking is the number one concern and deterrent in attending arts events.

National Accreditation

Existing national accreditation in each area, or the ability to attain this recognition, is in jeopardy due to poor facilities, inadequate faculty and staff positions and reduced funding.

Technology and Equipment

The arts have become a high tech discipline in many areas. Computer control and scenic automation technology, digitized art, sound and design applications, automated lighting equipment and advanced research in many related fields have become an expectation for

students and faculty in deciding where to go to school and work. Professional work in many areas requires that graduates have a working knowledge of such technology. Funding for the acquisition and maintenance of this technology and the associated software applications is essential if the arts at Western are to be competitive with peer institutions and to be a destination for students looking for these skills.





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