Ithaca College has a history of being as transparent as a brick wall. With the second phase of the university program prioritization process (APP), the college community is not only being sidelined., but right down to the nosebleed section – looking down, no one knows what the college is doing or why we are only seeing the consequences. The administration is not known for its transparency or its communication capabilities, but we must continue to demand this they make these changes in the interest of their relationship with the rest of the community and the reputation of the college.
The APP is moving forward with plans to move the Department of Theater Arts to the School of Music from its current location at the School of Humanities. This includes a lot of college-wide changes and restructurings, but who did the administration consult with? Who did he ask to find out if this was the right choice for both schools and students? Why are theater majors who have concentrations in stage management or production transferred to the School of Music? Students and teachers are confused. They don’t even know if they should even be worried as no information has been shared on what this change will look like for each major, its students and faculty. Students need a voice in the changes that are being administered in their own school, their own majors. It affects them more than the administration. Their advice should have been taken into account and they should be kept regularly informed of what the new structure means for them. This is the bare minimum that the college owes its students.
This change might make sense for some of the majors like the majors in musical theater, the majors in theatrical production and design with a concentration in sound design and the minors in dance. In many other colleges, they are usually all grouped under the same roof as the performing arts or the fine arts. But what does this mean for the majors of production and design? Looks like they’re swept to the side or erased. If the college renamed the School of Music to recognize the major theater-related news that will be part of the school, it could help the new school feel more united. However, potential plans for this have not been announced.
All of these questions remain unanswered, and students and faculty alike wonder what the answers are and what to expect. Depending on their speculation, students and faculty will see this transition as beneficial or detrimental. But they can’t be sure, because no one really knows what it means for the two schools and what it will look like. There is almost no way to form an opinion without any information. The college cannot continue to withhold information – this is totally unacceptable – or ignore the voices of the rest of the community, as this only shows that it cares about the school for its own benefit rather only what is best for its students and the faculty.