Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Theatere arts departments brings forward new offerings

The theatre arts department has many new offerings that will be available to students in the upcoming school year.
Chair of the theatre arts department, Jeff Coussens, stated that the department is both revising the theatre arts minor, as well as adding a musical theatre curriculum, which will allow students to emphasize within their theatre arts major.
“The musical theatre program is not a major. It will be a concentration within the theatre arts major,” Coussens said. “Also, we have just recently revised the theatre arts minor, so that it too will be a place where students can emphasize.”
These changes to the theatre arts curriculum are going to allow for students interested in theatre to broaden their knowledge and earn a major and/or minor with greater specificity.
The department is hoping these changes will be more enticing for education majors.
“If someone is majoring in music education or secondary education, they can minor in theatre arts,” Coussens said. “That minor is 18 credits, but then, if they take six additional credits, ed majors can take an Illinois state exam to achieve an endorsement to teach theatre as a second area.”
According to Coussens, it is very important to understand that the program is not a teaching certification program; however, it is an easier way to work toward achieving an endorsement.
One Augustana student who took advantage of this program is senior, Rowan Crow.
Crow is majoring in history and secondary education; however, she is also minoring in theatre arts, a minor for which she just passed the state test to receive a teaching endorsement.
“I decided I wanted to do the endorsement because theatre is my passion and my career choice is that of educator,” Crow said. “The great thing is that the endorsement will give me the opportunity to do what I love – educate students in the art of theatre and it provides me with a chance to apply my art in many different ways after I graduate Augustana.”
With these changes, the theatre department expects more students to add this minor, and possible endorsement, like Crow, in the future.
“Theatre is such an amazing atmosphere to discover aspects of the human spirit, and I can’t wait to change the lives of young people through theatre,” Crow said. “To future education students who love theatre I would say, ‘Get the endorsement! All it can do is help you and it allows you the opportunity to keep doing what you love!’”
As far as the addition of a musical theatre curriculum, Coussens discussed new courses that are expected to be offered as early as Fall Term of 2016.
“There are two courses going through the approval pipeline right now and one other that has yet to be proposed,” Coussens said. “The courses are still being developed, but we are confident that starting next year, students can start taking those classes.”
The two courses which are currently getting approved are “The History of Music Theatre”, a course on the evolution of musical theatre over time, and “Musical Theatre Dance Styles”.
The additional course, which is still being developed and has yet to be sent out for approval, is a musical theatre acting class.
Coussens also added that in order to earn an emphasis in musical theatre, students will also have to enroll in music classes, if they are not already.
The entire theatre arts department is looking forward to the new-and-improved theatre arts minor, as well as the new musical theatre curriculum, both of which should be in full-swing next Fall.

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Theatere arts departments brings forward new offerings