By Karis Fuller
Over summer 2018, discussions were held to merge the music department with the theatre, dance and arts management department. The merger has not been completed and is still under consideration.
Dr. James McRoy, director of the wind symphony and professor of music explained his perception of the proposed change. “We weren’t told anything official; we had been told that it’s tentatively on hold,” he said. “We don’t really know what the play is moving forward or how things are going to unfold,” McRoy said.
Dr. Jennifer Miceli, the chairperson of the music department, stepped down at the end of the spring 2018 semester. The music department is currently without a chair and is being led by a committee. With only four full time faculty members in the department, the department has been put under some stress. “There’s a lot more email traffic as every decision has to go through multiple people, but we’re trying to make the best of it and try and let it not impact the students as much possible,” McRoy said.
McRoy sees the potential perks of the change for two highly accredited programs. Through unifying under the same chairperson and becoming a “performing arts” department that encompasses dance, music and theatre, McRoy said all three departments could have a chance to grow. “We’re hoping that a combined department of the performing arts would be able to create a department of more full time faculty in total,” he said. “And be able to represent the performing arts on campus as a more united front.”
In order for this to be a success, the departments need more resources, according to McRoy. The music department currently does not have a secretary, which he said is “challenging,” but faculty members are trying to operate as smoothly as they can given their circumstances. The long time department secretary, Emily Cintron, retired at the end of the spring semester.
This unification could benefit both departments when it comes to recruiting new students. The theatre and music programs can recruit at the same events, and this unification would give the combined department the chances to broaden their search for prospective students.
“Initially there would be one chair of the larger department of performing arts, on top of music, theatre, dance and art management,” McRoy said. “When we go out and recruit, we can do it as a more unified operation.”
Although the merger was a summer rumor, students have not received any definitive announcement.
Sophomore theatre major Emily Shoup explained that
it was mentioned in her class group chat over the summer, but they hadn’t heard anything since. “I don’t know how to feel about it because I don’t know enough yet,” Shoup said. “I guess unifying makes sense, when you think back to high school, the two departments were usually in the same building and usually worked very close together.”
“It’s tragic that the school is cutting funding and education in the arts and lumping music together with an entirely different field,” Katherine Keaney, senior theatre production major, said. “Let students study and hone their craft in their rightful environment. Don’t strip that away from students that are paying thousands of dollars to come here.”
Post is undergoing several changes as of fall 2018, and if approved, this unification will be another adjustment to which the students, faculty and administration will have to adapt.