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1. Rationale for the new certificate program

With the suspension of the University’s Arts Administration minor program, a curricular gap was created for students who continued to express an interest in pursuing professional work in arts management and related fields. The creation of a new undergraduate arts certificate program that better reflects the University’s values by focusing on community engagement through the arts will be more accessible, practical and attractive as an undergraduate certificate than a more narrowly focused arts management minor program or a graduate certificate program with limited connection to the arts. This undergraduate certificate program will create a collaborative environment where students can work on community-based projects. A demonstrated interest in this type of program has been evident in informal conversations with and among undergraduate arts majors and non-arts majors. Several students have enrolled in the Non-Profit and Community Leadership Graduate Certificate Program as their only current option.

The program will be open to interested degree-seeking undergraduates in the Department of Music; the Department of Art and Design; the Theatre, Dance and Performance Technology Program; the Department of Communication; the Department of English; and the School of Business, as well as those whose academic focus is in other areas of study. Arts majors and students majoring in non-arts disciplines will have opportunities to collaborate to identify specific problems and needs in the community and to work toward finding creative solutions for those problems. Modes of student learning will include the development of case studies for information collection, problem identification and project-focused work toward solutions, and consultation with diverse experts. This certificate program will serve specific community members, such as those who work in social justice or social service settings and want to bring the arts to the people they serve. The program will also support arts organizations in their efforts to reach wider and more diverse audiences. The program will be sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences and administered by the Department of Music with a faculty member assigned as Coordinator. The first Certificate Coordinator will be Professor Sharon Gratto, who is active in the arts community and will recruit and advise students for the program.

A Certificate in Community Arts Engagement will help prepare undergraduate students find innovative ways to advocate for the arts and to bring the arts to more diverse segments of the community. Today’s arts organizations and other community organizations need creative thinkers who have the skills to help make connections across disciplines and to bridge the gaps that exist between and among various constituencies. This program supports the University’s educational goals and objectives by encouraging and supporting students to become change-makers as they engage in civic practice in the community with and through the arts.