Jun 19, 2024  
2022-2023 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
Ann Oberhelman – SH 101 – (435) 586-7746

Overview of Programs

Theatre and Dance

Undergraduate students in Southern Utah University’s Department of Theatre, Dance, and Arts Administration 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 both the National Association of Schools of Theatre (NAST) and the National Association of Schools of Dance (NASD). The Theatre and Dance programs give 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, SUUDO (SUU Dance Organization), 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 and related disciplines, education fields, and graduate studies.

Arts Administration

The Arts Administration graduate degree tracks at Southern Utah University provide a personalized, interdisciplinary education that develop well-rounded professionals employable in any arts discipline. We value experiential learning, collaboration, and advocacy. This engagement is essential for our collective future.

The graduate faculty of the Arts Administration Programs exemplify 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 (M.F.A.) degree track is a two-year academic and experiential learning residency, much like a conservatory, that includes 60 credit hours combined with work opportunities through our professional affiliates.

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.

Master of Arts Degree (Online)

The online Master of Arts (M.A.) degree track includes specialized graduate coursework totaling 36 credit hours. Coursework in the M.A. degree is completed 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. Students can begin this degree track in either Fall or Spring semesters.


The mission of the Department of Theatre, Dance, and Arts Administration is to nurture and challenge the creative process of arts and culture. Our vision is to build a future with a sustainable mindset of art creation. Our department will serve as a cultural hub advancing and advocating for experimentation in form and content with inclusion, diversity, equity, and justice guiding our work.

Our values include:

Experiential Learning
Learning through doing develops foundational skills through the reflection and revision process. This drives collective and individual analysis to enrich the educational experience, enhance rigor, and prepare students for multiple career paths beyond graduation.

We relish creative and intellectual exploration. Our department is a space for discovering new knowledge, analyzing and critiquing existing work, and ultimately developing a deep desire to hone our craft and know it fully through thought and action.

Through fostering a collaborative environment in the classroom and artistic space, we build essential professional and interpersonal skills, working together toward educational and artistic goals. By appreciating individual uniqueness, we build experiences where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Students come to us with ideas, dreams, and a vision for a better future. We help them find their voice and use it to engage in their communities. We work to advocate for ourselves, our art, and each other. This engagement is essential for our collective future.

We develop an appreciation and ability to discern and implement aesthetic practices. Our disciplines use and support the full spectrum of the creative arts including the development of an individual aesthetic for the creative practitioner.

Theatre and Dance

The Undergraduate Programs in Theatre and Dance focus on a rich diversity of disciplines, techniques, technologies, and productions. Central to this is superior teaching and personalized mentoring; our classroom encompasses the studio, the stage, and the technical laboratory.

Arts Administration

The Graduate Arts Administration Programs develop 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 Statements

The Department has established goals to that build upon the missions and visions of our programs, the College of Performing and Visual Arts, and Southern Utah University.

The Theatre and Dance programs will:

  • 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 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 and 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 graduates 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 1st (MFA), August 15th (MA Fall Start), or January 1st (MA Spring Start):

  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

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. program may, for valid reasons, transfer into the M.A. program. Students in the M.A. program cannot transfer credit into the existing M.F.A program. 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.


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