College of Visual and Performing Arts becomes a School
By Monica Sudfield | Published March 4, 2017
The College of Visual and Performing Arts and the College of Humanities & Social Sciences have been combined into one college, and given a new name: the College of Liberal Arts.
When the College of Visual and Performing Arts was created, it had four departments: Theater, Fine Arts, Music and Design. The CVPA college’s enrollment dropped when Kean opened The Michael Graves College, which focuses on both architecture and design, in early 2014.
“The term “visual” in the CVPA title no longer exclusively applies to CVPA since Design in the Michael Graves College can be considered a visual art,” said Dr. Suzanne Bousquet, Dean of the combined College of Liberal Arts.
The former CVPA college is now the School of Fine and Performing Arts within the College of Liberal Arts. The other five schools in the College of Liberal Arts are: The School of Communication, Media and Journalism; The School of English Studies; The School of General Studies; The School of Psychology and The School of Social Sciences.
According to the Fall 2016 factbook on Kean’s website, 351 students were enrolled in the College of Visual and Performing arts, which is not an efficient amount to keep the College independent.
The Kean Federation of Teachers, which represents full-time faculty, views the change as a demotion for performing arts.
In 2013, a strategic plan was developed to cover goals, objectives and actions through 2020. This plan states the support and further growth of Centers of Excellence, which includes the College of Visual and Performing Arts, noted Dr. James Castiglione, physics professor and president of the Kean Federation of Teachers.
Instead, he said the retirement and non-replacement of long-term faculty within the College of Visual and Performing Arts has led to enrollment deterioration.
“These Centers of Excellence are supposed to be strengthened, not weakened,” said Dr. Castiglione. ‘We just don’t have the faculty that they need, and that undermines the attractiveness of those programs to prospective students.”
Dr. Castiglione further criticized Kean’s long-time slogan “World Class Education”, and added that there is concern about the future of visual and performing arts at Kean. He said world-class universities offer students a wide variety of classes and majors.
“How can you be a world class institution if you’re going to take a thriving visual and performing arts sector and basically sideline it?” said Dr. Castiglione. What seems to many just a change in title leaves others fearing an overall elimination of these programs in the future.
Dr. Bousquet said the changes are “an example of another stage of evolution of Kean University.”
“The courses remain the same, the studio and performing space remain the same,” she said. “Current students will not experience any changes in the way they continue their academic programs.”