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AlumNews: Talon Articles

New theater major creates opportunities for students

Friday, September 14, 2007  
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By Britt Barrientez

Oklahoma Christian University offers students multiple areas of emphasis within the department of communication. The school now gives students the opportunity to major in theater.

Oklahoma Christian added the Bachelor of Science in Theater Performance in the fall of 2005.

“Working with the Communication Department Chairman, Dr. Larry Jurney, he and I began the new degree process by developing the curriculum then submitting the new major to the Academic Affairs Committee and from thence to the entire faculty, who must approve all new majors,” Professor Phil Reagan said.

Before the change, students were restricted to a degree such as Bachelor of Arts in Communication with an emphasis in theater or a Bachelor of Science Education in Communication Studies with an emphasis in Theatre.

The goal of the degree is to prepare students for graduate studies by providing them with adequate education in the performance, dramatic literature, history, stage movement, design and directing portions of theater.

The addition made five new classes available to students: introduction to play production, theater history, stage movement, acting II and theater design. Oklahoma Christian also brought in two new professors to teach these classes.

“In the Fall of 2005, adjunct professor Barbara Berard began teaching the new stage movement class,” Reagan said. “This fall, Dr. Barrett Huddleston, professor of theater, was hired to teach theatre history and other theater and communication classes.”

The growth of faculty has been followed by the growth of students who have chosen to major in theater. Huddleston said the number of students has gone from five students last year to 16 students this year.

“The new major allows our students to compete against students from undergraduate schools with theater majors for placement in theater graduate programs,” Reagan said. “We also hope to enter the American College Theater Festival, the national competition among college theaters.”

“The new degree provides even more academic and performance training than before in a Christian environment,” Reagan said. “The new degree will provide more opportunities for our students to prepare themselves for a career in the performing arts.”

“Professors believe the addition of these classes to a prominent theater program will improve students’ credibility in furthering their education.

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