Dec 02, 2020  
2020-2021 General Catalog 
2020-2021 General Catalog

Department of Theatre, Dance, and Arts Administration

Person IconDepartment Chair
Brian Swanson – SH 203 – (435) 865-8674
Faculty IconFaculty & Staff
Person IconAssociate Chair
Nick Blaylock – SH 202 – (435) 865-8562
Advisor IconStudent Success Advisors
Person IconArts Administration Program Director
Rachel Parker – BM 201 – (435) 586-7873
Website IconWebsite
Admin Assistant IconAdministrative Assistant
Jacque Marchant – SH 201 – (435) 586-7746

Overview of Programs


Our students in Southern Utah University’s Department of Theatre Arts and Dance perform, choreograph, design, create, invent, dance, act, and stage manage – and stretch themselves creatively and scholastically by incorporating their comprehensive training and experience in all aspects of the live arts. SUU is an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Dance (NASD). The Theatre Arts and Dance program gives students the opportunity to work alongside professionals in mainstage dance and theatre productions, as well as the Utah Shakespeare Festival, recipient of the 2000 Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre. Students have the opportunity to create and perform their own work in Second Studio, Orchesis Dance Company, and through department black box grants. Student work has been selected for the Gala Concert at Regional American College Dance Festivals, Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival, and United States Institute for Theatre Technology. Our internationally active professionals are at the top of their respective fields. Their talent and expertise provide our students with the required foundation for entry into professional entertainment, graduate studies and other educational fields.

Arts Administration Minor

The Arts Administration Undergraduate Minor will provide students an inclusive approach, connecting the study of business, marketing, and communication within the context of the arts. A student with an arts administration minor increases the marketability of his/her degree upon graduation, enhancing the graduate’s prospects for work in non-profit arts organizations.

The core of this minor includes two existing undergraduate arts administration courses coupled with a third choice that helps to ensure that all students pursuing the minor have some basic preparation in marketing, public relations, and/or accounting.  Beyond the core requirements, students select an additional nine (9) credits from the list of electives to complete the minor.


The graduate faculty of the Arts Administration Program exemplifies excellence in teaching, scholarship, and professional contributions to the field of arts administration. This creates an environment that enhances the educational atmosphere of the program, instilling in the students a desire for lifelong learning.

Master of Fine Arts Degree

The Master of Fine Arts degree track is a two-year academic and experiential learning course of study that includes 60 credit hours combined with work opportunities through our professional affiliates. The track begins each fall at an intensive three-day conference which includes program orientation, master classes, and workshops. This event introduces students not only to the field of arts administration, but Arts Administration faculty and fellow students in both degree tracks.

A limited number of students are accepted to the M.F.A. track each year, thereby providing the highest level of personal instruction and mentoring in the classroom. Students also receive several opportunities outside of the classroom to participate in both scholarly and practical activities and projects. This combination of personalized academics and experiential learning gives students the tools necessary to compete in today’s job market.

Students admitted to the M.F.A. degree track are automatically qualified for a professional affiliate assistantship.

Master of Arts Degree (Online)

The Master of Arts degree track includes specialized graduate coursework totaling 36 credit hours. Coursework in the M.A. track is done entirely online and includes financial management, development, fundraising, marketing, legal issues, leadership, and board development. At the end of the program, students will complete a final project with focuses on the practical aspects of the academic material studied.

This degree track begins at an intensive three-day conference in Cedar City each fall. The conference includes program orientation, master classes, and workshops. This event introduces students not only to the field of arts administration, but Arts Administration faculty and fellow students in both degree tracks.


Our mission is to provide a nurturing and challenging educational environment through a rich diversity of theatre and dance disciplines, techniques, technologies, and productions. Central to our focus as a department is superior teaching and personalized mentoring; our classroom encompasses the studio, the stage, and the technical laboratory.

The Arts Administration Program develops graduates who balance administrative systems with the creative process in an effort to ensure the artistic integrity and economic sustainability of arts organizations.

Department Goal Statement

The goal of Theatre Arts and Dance is to:

  • Foster academic excellence through development of programs that meet national standards.
  • Promote quality personnel with expertise in their areas of teaching.
  • Enhance the cultural and aesthetic experience of our campus, community, and region through quality productions, leadership, and service learning.
  • Embrace a standard of artistic excellence, which is enhanced by a strong professional link with the internationally recognized Utah Shakespeare Festival.
  • Create widespread visibility through our active participation with the ACDA, KCACTF, USITT, URTA, ATHE, UTA, and other professional/educational organizations.
  • Prepare students for successful transfer to graduate or conservatory programs or to pursue professional careers in the theatre and dance performance, theatre and dance education, or allied fields.

The Arts Administration Program has five goals that build upon the missions and visions of the program, the College of Performing and Visual Arts, and Southern Utah University. The Arts Administration Program will

  • Provide a personalized, interdisciplinary education;
  • Develop well-rounded professionals employable in any arts discipline;
  • Offer a nonprofit management curriculum and experiential learning opportunities; and
  • Advocate for the arts.

Department/Program Learning Outcomes

Theatre Arts & Dance

Students will

  1. Comprehend how the techniques and practices of theatre arts and dance are used for creative thought and artistic expression;
  2. Execute basic production processes in the areas of acting, dance, stage direction, choreography, design, and the necessary technical operations related to production;
  3. Acquire knowledge of diverse historical and multi-cultural dimensions and traditions of theatre arts and dance; and
  4. Formulate assessments of quality, both creatively and critically, in works of theatre, dance, and other related art forms.

Arts Administration

The Arts Administration Program has five learning outcomes that build upon the missions and visions of the program, the College of Performing and Visual Arts, and Southern Utah University.

Students will

  • Become empowered advocates for the arts;
  • Apply scholarly theory directly into professional practice;
  • Develop adaptability and critical thinking skills necessary to work in the arts;
  • Cultivate both practical and creative approaches to problem solving; and
  • Communicate in an effective and persuasive way.

Graduate Admission and Graduation Information

Before applying to the Arts Administration Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) or Master of Arts (M.A.) degree program, we urge you to read the Overview of Arts Administration and the Roles of Arts Administrators to become more familiar with the general scope of responsibilities and work of an arts administrator or manager. Success in any graduate program depends in large part on how well the program aligns with your interests, skills, abilities, and career goals. Please review the document to judge if the Arts Administration Program at SUU is the right fit for you.

Overview of Arts Administration and the Roles of Arts Administrators is a snapshot of the Graduate Standards for programs in arts administration from the Association of Arts Administration Educators. AAAE, which was founded in 1975, has developed these educational standards to assist programs around the world in setting outcomes and expectations for students pursuing graduate degrees in the field. SUU has been a full member in AAAE since 2004, and adheres to the AAAE Graduate Standards.

General Requirements

Applicants to the Arts Administration Program must have completed a bachelor’s degree (or the international equivalent) in a relevant area of the arts, business, or the liberal arts. Students will be required to have a cumulative undergraduate grade-point average of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) for admission consideration.

Admission Materials

The following materials must be sent to SUU Admissions by March 1 for the Master of Fine Arts and September 1 for the Master of Arts:

  1. SUU Graduate Programs Admissions application and fee
  2. Official transcripts from each college or university attended (unless the institution is SUU)
  3. Resume including academic, professional, and volunteer experience
  4. Three (3) letters of recommendation
  5. A Statement of Purpose

Applicants for the Master of Fine Arts track who make it to the second stage of the admissions process must present themselves for an interview on-campus or at a professional conference. Applicants are strongly encouraged to interview on-campus and to tour the Cedar City area and the professional affiliate organizations. The Program Director will contact those applicants who make it to this stage to set up an interview.

Applicants for the Master of Arts track (online) are also encouraged to interview on-campus and to tour the Cedar City area and the professional affiliate organizations, but are only required to have a telephone interview.

Application Assessment

The Program Director and the AA Admissions Committee will assess the quality of the applicant based on the following areas:

  • Leadership skills as evidenced through the applicant’s undergraduate activities, civic volunteerism, internship with a professional arts organization, and/or a paid professional experience in arts or nonprofit organizations.
  • Communications skills as evidenced through a written Statement of Purpose addressing educational and career goals, and (MFA candidates only) a personal interview.
  • Preference is given to applicants who have work and/or volunteer experience in the arts or non-profit sector or related fields after completion of a bachelor’s degree program.

The Program Director and the AA Admissions Committee may make exceptions to admissions policies on a case-by-case basis.

Graduate Graduation Requirements

Graduate students are required to maintain a minimum of a 3.0 (“B”) cumulative grade point average on a 4.0 scale. Students who fall below the 3.0 standard will be contacted each semester and asked to develop a plan to improve their GPA. Students who do not meet the 3.0 requirement within two (2) semesters of coursework will be dismissed from the program. Please see Policy 6.62 Grading and Graduation Requirements for more information.

Additionally, graduate students will not receive credit for a course where he/she achieved less than a 2.0 (“C”). In such a case, the student may repeat the course once at their own expense, but the program cannot accommodate offering the course outside of the sequencing provided. If the student receives less than a 2.0 (“C”) a second time, the student will automatically be dismissed from the program.

If a student receives less than a Pass (“P”) in the Capstone and/or Degree Defense, the Student will not be granted the Master of Fine Arts or Master of Arts degree and will be dismissed from the program. The Capstone and the Degree Defense may not be repeated.

Other Information

Students will be evaluated each semester based on academic work, assistantships (M.F.A. only), and assigned special projects. Students must excel in all areas to move forward. If any area is deficient, the student will be dismissed from the program.

Students who, for valid reasons, choose to withdraw from the program (and were not dismissed) will be allowed to re-enter at the stage where they left with the approval of the Program Director and faculty, and with satisfactory qualifications. Students must complete the degree program within six (6) years of their first semester enrollment.

Students in the M.F.A. track may, for valid reasons, transfer into the M.A. track. Students in the M.A. track cannot transfer credit into the existing M.F.A track. Although coursework between the two programs overlaps, the M.F.A. degree involves twenty-four (24) months of intensive in-person, academic, and practical training that cannot be made up if a portion of the material is taken in the online format.


    Bachelor’s DegreeMinorMaster’s Degree