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Announcement regarding Theatre and Media Production


We are writing to announce that a theatre arts minor and a media production major will be reinstated at Bethel and to explain how we came to this decision.

According to the Faculty Handbook, faculty members whose positions are eliminated for strategic reasons, along with their department chairs and program directors, have 30 days to meet with the president and provost to discuss “the missional impact of the decisions; and propose alternative methods to achieve final financial or strategic goals.”

Faculty from the theatre and communication studies departments met with Jay and Deb to discuss and review their proposed alternative methods to achieve the financial savings without completely eliminating the theatre and media production programs. As a result, Cabinet voted to accept their creative proposals and reinstate a theatre arts minor and a media production major.

Theatre Arts Minor: Theatre will retain one full-time faculty member and stage three productions (as opposed to four) each year: one in the fall, a musical during Interim, and one in the spring. The productions will be staged in Benson Great Hall or other spaces on campus, but not in the current theatre department space. 

The ability to move forward with this alternative proposal was made possible by theatre faculty along with the dean’s office. The CAS Academic Affairs office identified another way of reaching the financial goal by not filling some faculty replacement positions. These positions had not been included in the previously announced position eliminations.

Media Production Major: The Department of Communication Studies proposed retaining the media production major by using courses offered for the media production minor. The full-time faculty position eliminated will not be reinstated. 

Students in the College of Arts & Sciences will also be notified about this change along with prospective students who had previously expressed interest in these two areas and alumni who graduated from the programs.

We appreciate the dedication and creative thinking put forward by our faculty to help us find different solutions that allow us to offer these programs and maintain the same cost savings needed for Bethel.

Serving together,

Jay Barnes, John Addleman, Amy Blaz, Pat Brooke, Deb Harless, Mark Miles, Ruben Rivera, Michael Vedders, and Cara Wald