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Dance and fine arts minors added to College of Communication

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Fine Arts and Dance minors have just been added to the College of Communication, and one such minor is in African Dance, depicted in the photo. Photo by Emily Waller / Emily.Waller@Marquette.edu

Do you have a passion for dancing? How about the first time your grade-school drawing landed itself a prized position on the fridge and you thought to yourself, “I could be the next Picasso.”

Well, you may be in luck thanks to the creation of two new minors in the College of Communication: dance and fine arts.

Sandra Cleveland, chair of the university board on undergraduate studies and associate dean of the College of Professional Studies, announced the development during the monthly meeting of the University Academic Senate, held last Monday.

“The creation of the minors was important,” Cleveland said during the meeting. “The minor in dance really brings together and normalizes dance at Marquette. The fine arts minor brings an increased relationship with MIAD (Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design). Both are key in promoting the arts within the university.”

Stephen Hudson-Mairet, chair of the department of the performing arts, was a major player in the creation of the dance minor.

“Around 2005, there was a task force assembled for assessing the performing arts at Marquette,” Hudson-Mairet said. “Eventually, what came out of it was that there was a need for more academic offerings in performing arts disciplines.”

The findings of the task force helped in creating a minor in music, introduced in 2008, and more recently the minor in dance, Hudson-Mairet said.

“Along with four core technique classes, we’ve introduced a new set of classes focused on dance,” Hudson-Mairet said. “Besides the academic side, there are also performance classes, which is a big part of the minor.” Hudson-Mairet said that student interest is at a high level, and the minor in dance will only help draw more students.

“From what we’ve seen, the dance classes we’ve offered have been consistently full, or near it,” Hudson-Mairet said. “The beauty of the minor is that it’s geared towards students from all over the university.”

Whereas the minor in dance is entirely new, the minor in fine arts is more of a retooling – encompassing the former studio art and art history minors into the new fine arts minor, according to Joyce Wolburg, associate dean of the College of Communications and a professor in advertising.

“We’ve always had a reciprocal relationship with MIAD,” Wolburg said. “The new minor incorporates elements of the previous two, and reshapes the way MIAD and Marquette work together.”

The two schools are partners in a cross-registration program where Marquette students can take classes at MIAD to fulfill course requirements and learn from expert artists. Conversely, MIAD students can take classes at Marquette for the same reasons and can also access the libraries here.

“There was a lot of student and faculty input in the decision,” Wolburg said. “We had surveyed students and such, and found out that the course offerings just weren’t enough.”

Wolburg said the existing relationship with MIAD made negotiations easy. The new fine arts minor expands the number of classes available to students.

“Before, we didn’t have the depth of fine arts needed to serve our students,” Wolburg. “Now, we’ve just built on and strengthened our relationship with MIAD to make the amount and nature of courses being offered to be enough to satisfy our students’ needs.”

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