|Document Title||Department of Theater and Dance Handbook|
September 23, 2013
|Approved by||Dean and Department faculty|
September 23, 2013
This handbook is a guide to the faculty of the Department of Theatre and Dance of the State University of New York as they pursue their careers as teachers and artists within the department. The handbook contains the policies and procedures for reappointment, continuing appointment and promotion, as well as the duties and obligations of faculty members within the department. Faculty should read this handbook carefully and be familiar with its contents.
This guide is written in conjunction with the policies and procedures found in the Policies of the Board of Trustees of the State University of New York, the current Agreement Between the State of New York and the United University Professionals, the Faculty Handbook (1993), and the Handbook on Appointment, Reappointment, and Promotion (HARP) (2017).
Nothing in this handbook should be read as superseding any of these documents.
It is the mission of the Department of Theatre and Dance to provide training for professional, community and academic theatres within the framework of a liberal arts education. The theatre and dance programs also serve as one means of acquiring a liberal education.
The Department of Theatre and Dance aspires to be a leader in the development, education and training of actors and dancers, both for the worlds of professional theatre, film and dance, and equally as important, for the arts community as a whole nationwide. The department recognizes that the professional world of performing arts and entertainment represents only a small segment of the diversity of arts opportunities available to students, and strives to offer programs that will give students choice and flexibility in planning for careers in theatre and dance. We believe that professional style training offered within the context of a liberal arts education makes this possible.
The department offers a general Bachelor of Arts degree for those students interested in pursuing a broad education in theatre and dance. Students in this program receive training in both the technical and performance aspects of theatre, and have the option of pursuing additional courses in dance. Students may choose to concentrate their studies in a particular area, thus allowing for a deeper experience. When combined with a minor or a second major, this degree allows students to achieve the flexibility necessary to work as an entrepreneur in the field of performing arts. Possible career choices include teaching artist, community theatre artist, drama therapy, arts in education, creative dramatics, arts administration, and a number of other choices.
The department also offers a number of Bachelor of Fine Arts degree programs in several areas. These include Acting, Dance, Technical Design and Production, and in cooperation with the School of Music, Musical Theatre. These degree programs are designed to provide a more intense experience and more concentrated training in their particular areas, and are for those students whose career goals are firmly dedicated to careers in these areas.
The department is dedicated to producing for the university community as well as the general public theatrical and dance productions of the highest caliber. The department offers a number of theatrical and dance events of all sorts, ranging from the classical to the experimental. These productions offer students a living laboratory of performance, where they may have the opportunity to explore their art form to the fullest and challenge themselves as performers within a guided framework of close mentoring by the faculty.
The faculty of the department consists of dedicated, resident full-‐time professional artists who have chosen to devote their careers to the education and training of young artists. Their first and foremost obligation is to impart to their students the benefit of their own training and insights as practicing artists in the field. While the faculty continue to develop their own careers as working artists, they see as their primary responsibility their work in the classroom and in the productions produced by the department for the benefit of the students.
The department is not focused merely on the training and development of the young artist as an artist, but also on the young artist as a developing young person. The department believes in the training of the entire person, and strives to offer students skills in areas such as critical thinking, problem solving, teamwork, cooperation, and other life skills that will allow a student to be successful regardless of their final chosen profession. Combined with the liberal arts education offered at SUNY Fredonia, the department strives to educate and train not only the finest young artists it can, but also the finest young people it can. We believe this is what will best serve the arts of theatre and dance now, and for generations to come.
The Department Chair is appointed to a three-year term, and serves as the chief executive officer of the Department of Theatre and Dance. In addition, the chair also serves as the Producing Artistic Director for the department’s season of mainstage shows. The Chair works with faculty and staff to articulate and implement departmental vision, goals and strategies and represent the best interests of the department within the university community. The Chair must also serve as a liaison between the department and the Dean of Visual and Performing Arts, representing the needs and expectations of both to the other.
Specific duties and responsibilities of the Chair include:
The Department Chair may delegate many of these duties, but it should be understood that he or she is ultimately accountable for all required departmental functions.
Department Chair Appointment Process
The following is the process by which the Department of Theatre and Dance will select their department chairperson upon the occasion of that position becoming open. Nothing in this policy shall supercede any written policies in the Faculty Handbook,the Policies of the Board of Trustees, or the Chair Selection Policy passed by University Senate 11/16/2016.
The Department Chair is appointed by the President of the University for a three-year term. A currently serving chair must go through the appointment process in order to be re-appointed for another three-year term. There is no limit as to how many terms a chair may serve.
By October 15th of the third year of their appointment, the chair will initiate the process of selecting a new chair. Only full-time tenured faculty are eligible to be appointed as chair. Tenured faculty wishing to be considered for the chair shall write to the Dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts a letter indicating their intention. They shall provide in that letter the reasons why they wish to be considered for the chair and their qualifications. Accompanying the letter shall be a one-page statement of the vision and goals the candidate has for the department and their current curriculum vitae.
All members of the faculty and staff shall act as a “committee of the whole” in the selection process. The highest- ranking full-time faculty member who is not a candidate for the chair shall serve as the facilitator of the process. Once the candidates have submitted their name to the Dean, the department will interview each candidate and ask questions based on the stated goals and visions of the candidate.
After discussion amongst the members of the department, a vote by secret ballot shall be taken. The candidate winning a majority of the total votes cast shall be the candidate who will be recommended to the Dean. Voting faculty may choose to abstain. Should no candidate receive a majority of the votes on the first vote taken, the department may hold additional votes to achieve a majority for one candidate. The department will provide to the Dean the result of the vote as well as a short summary of each candidate’s strengths and weaknesses. After appropriate consultation with the department, the Dean of Visual and Performing Arts will forward the recommendation to the Provost/Vice-President for Academic Affairs..
Should the department find none of the candidates acceptable (i.e. no candidates receive any votes, or the department becomes stalemated among the candidates), the Dean will have the responsibility of recommending a chair from amongst the candidates. Should no eligible candidates within the department come forward for consideration, the department will consult with the Dean to determine a process by which a chair shall be selected.
Once a chair has been appointed by the President, he or she may organize the department in whatever manner they feel will best suit the needs of the department at that time. Given that the department consists of three distinct areas (performance, technical production and design, and dance), it is advisable that the chair organize the department in a manner that is reflective of this reality, and provides a means of feedback and dialog across the department. Any re-organization plan is subject to approval by the Dean.
DEPARTMENT STANDING COMMITTEES
The Department Personnel Committee shall consist of all tenured faculty, not including the department chair,for the purpose of advising and guiding the reappointment, continued appointment and/or promotion process. The Committee is responsible for helping create the dossier for all candidates coming up for reappointment, continuing appointment, or promotion. Committee members will select a DPC chair. The DPC chair is required to organize a consulting meeting among appropriate faculty and the Department Chair to discuss the materials of faculty members applying for reappointment, continued appointment and/or promotion in accordance with the HARP timeline.
The Curriculum Committee consists of three members of the Department appointed annually by the Department Chair. It includes a representative from each of the areas of the Department. The committee is formed by volunteers. The Chair of the Department selects the Chair of the committee from the volunteers. It is the responsibility of the Curriculum Committee to consider and prepare all departmental curricular action that is submitted for inclusion in the SUNY Fredonia Undergraduate and Graduate Catalogs. This committee is also charged with initiating discussions of curricular issues that may not be ready for action, but which may, nevertheless, affect academic programs and resource allocation within the department. The Department Chair or a Director may submit actions and/or issues to the committee for consideration. Issues may also originate within the Committee. The committee is expected to work closely with all appropriate parties including the faculty in programs under consideration and the Department Chair. Area directors should be aware of all curricular deadlines posted in the Academic Affairs work calendar.
The committee performs the following duties for each curricular action:
SEASON SELECTION COMMITTEE
This committee consists of volunteer members of the faculty, and is responsible for offering to the department a season of theatre and dance for consideration for the following academic year. The Chair shall select from among the members a chair of the committee. Members of the committee shall call for suggestion of plays from among the faculty. Any member of the faculty or staff can submit a play for consideration. No faculty director or designer shall be bound to direct or design any production in which they have no interest. The season selection committee must find a director willing to direct any play that she or he has not submitted themselves. Selection of the musical(s) (if any are selected) shall be done in cooperation with the School of Music.
The selection of plays and/or dance material should show some consideration for the academic growth of the students as well as the financial needs of the box office. This can be a difficult balance to maintain. It is of primary concern to the educational needs of our students that they be exposed to as many varied forms of theatre and dance as possible within their four years. While no student will ever get the opportunity to be involved with everything, they should at the very least be able to see and experience as much as possible within the four years they attend the university. This educational mission of the production season should extend not only to our student majors, but to the student body as a whole.
The season selection committee should strive to make every effort to select the season by the end of the fall semester so as to provide adequate time for publicity and preparation. As Producing Artistic Director of the department, the Chair shall give final approval to the season. It shall be the responsibility of the chair to announce the season to the students and the general public. Season selection discussions, including titles of plays, shall be kept in the strictest confidence by the faculty until the chair announces the season.
DUTIES AND OBLIGATIONS OF DEPARTMENT MEMBERS
Faculty shall meet all obligations concerning the teaching of their classes as assigned by the Department Chair. They shall also hold appropriate office hours connected to their classes and be generally available to students for discussion of their academic progress. A typical teaching load for a faculty member is 7 three-credit courses per academic year, and one assignment within the department’s performance program. Independent study, directed study, or additional labs are typically not counted towards a faculty member’s teaching load. Any adjustments to a faculty member’s teaching schedule are at the discretion of the Department Chair.
The season of plays, musicals and dance concerts is an integral aspect of the department’s academic mission. Faculty members are expected to fully participate in the production of the department’s performance program. Participation includes but is not necessarily limited to acting, directing, designing, choreographing, technical direction, or some other significant aspect of a production. An assignment within the performance program is generally considered as the equivalent of one three-credit course within a faculty member’s typical teaching load.
Course Selection and Registration
The Chair will assign each student in the department a faculty advisor. Students will be assigned to faculty based primarily on the student’s major, and then secondarily on the number of advisees each faculty has. The goal is to insure that no member of the faculty is overburdened with advisors while others have lighter advising loads.
Faculty should expect to have some advisees in the BA General Theatre program as well as some advisees outside their specific discipline. Faculty should be prepared to be knowledgeable in all the degree programs offered by the department.
The advisor is each student's primary source of information on course selection, progress toward a degree, and the exploration of possibilities given each student's unique attributes and abilities. Incoming freshman and transfer students are encouraged to meet their advisor during the first week of classes to become familiar with them and the advising process. Advisors will meet with their advisees during Advising Week (prior to course registration), whenever a student may need to discuss adding or dropping courses, change in majors or department review
procedures. Each student has an advising folder that should be securely located in the faculty member’s office. This file contains student transcripts, registration forms, review sheets, high school transcripts, transfer credit approval forms and advising check sheets. Students have a right to inspect their academic file at any time and to make copies of any information contained therein.
Family Education Rights and Privacy Act
All faculty shall adhere to the rules and regulations contained in the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974. The following is re-printed from the University Catalog:
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, as amended, sets forth requirements designed to protect the privacy of parents and students. The statute governs the access to records maintained by educational institutions, and the release of such records.
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act permits current or former students to inspect and review their education records. Students are also accorded a right to a hearing in order to question the contents of their education records. Written consent from students may be required before personally identifiable information about them will be released from their education records, as provided by law.
Specifically, institutions are permitted to release directory information on students unless the students have notified the institution to withhold this information. Directory information is "public" information, which may be released without the student's consent to persons making inquiry. Personally identifiable information designated as directory information includes: the student's name; local address and local telephone number; cell phone number; university- assigned e-mail address; student's home address and home telephone number; parent's name, address and telephone number; class schedule; date and place of birth; major field of study; class standing; participation in officially recognized sports and activities; weight and height (athletes); electronic images (photographs); dates of attendance at university; degrees and awards received; and the most recent previous educational institution attended.
In essence, this means that a student’s educational records are their own, and must not be released to anyone who does not have written consent from the student to see that information. Of particular importance to faculty is the matter of grades and identification numbers. Faculty must take every precaution to insure that a student’s grade or ID number (particularly a SSN number) is not distributed in any manner that would allow any other person to see that grade. Posting of grades on bulletin boards, distribution of unsealed papers or grades to mailboxes, leaving graded assignments outside office doors are practices that are prohibited by FERPA.
Faculty must also use common sense when communicating with parents concerning a student’s academic process. In general, faculty should not discuss a student’s academic progress with the student’s parents or anyone else unless the student has given written consent. Faculty should treat a parent’s concern for their children’s progress seriously, but faculty should remind parents that, under the law, they cannot discuss any aspect of a student’s academic record with the parent. Insistent parents should be referred to the department chair.
Faculty may serve as advisors to the departmental Student Organizations. The Student Association creates policy, and approves budgets for all student groups. All student events and organizations are funded by the Student Association. Faculty responsibility to the organizations is to provide assistance and sponsorship, not to administer policy, provide resources or allocate funding.
REAPPOINTMENT, CONTINUING APPOINTMENT AND PROMOTION POLICIES