The College of Fine Arts at Illinois State University is comprised of the Schools of Art, Music, Theatre and the Program in Arts Technology. Degrees offered include the Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Music Education, Bachelor of Fine Arts, Master of Arts, Master of Science, Master of Music Education, and Master of Fine Arts.
In 1970 the departments of Art, Music, and Theatre were organized into a single College. In subsequent years, Dance joined the College and the Arts Technology Program evolved to a degree-granting program. The College of Fine Arts has developed into a vibrant and dynamic organization with a broad spectrum of academic programs. Most academic programs are fully accredited by their respective national accrediting body.
The School of Art is accredited by the National Associations of the Schools of Art and Design and offers degrees in: Art History, Ceramics, Drawing, Glass, Graphic Design, Integrated Media, Painting, Photography, Printmaking, Sculpture, Teacher Education, Video, Visual Culture, and Woods and Metal.
The School of Music is accredited by the National Associations of the Schools of Music and offers degrees in: Collaborative Piano, Conducting, Composition, Liberal Arts, Music Business, Musical Theatre, Music Therapy, Performance, and Teacher Education.
The School of Theatre is accredited by the National Associations of the Schools of Theatre and offers degrees in: Acting, Dance, Design/Production, Directing, Theatre Studies, and Teacher Education including Dance Education.
Arts Technology majors work across the arts to create performances, installations, and multiple media works using the computer and its related technologies as primary instruments.
Students study in highly specialized studios, laboratories, and classrooms with highly trained faculty who are committed educators and practicing artists/scholars. College of Fine Arts students not only meet the admission standards of Illinois State, but also meet rigorous admission standards of the College. As a result, graduates of the College enter into fulfilling careers and lives in a variety of arts and arts-related professions.
All students in the College of Fine Arts are expected to understand how the arts influence the larger society and, conversely, must understand how the world at large must inform their work. To this end, the College embraces the liberal education of artists and values the training of artists in the context of a university.
In addition to being a major academic community, the College of Fine Arts is the cultural heart of Illinois State University and a hub of arts activities for Central Illinois. The College is home to University Galleries, Normal Editions Workshop, the Center for Performing Arts, Kemp Recital Hall, Westhoff Theater, and the Illinois Shakespeare Festival, and it hosts visiting artists in all disciplines and provides arts outreach activities to community members of all ages.
The College of Fine Arts' mission is to educate developing artists, performers, scholars, teachers, and therapists. We believe in advancement of the arts within a diverse intellectual and social environment through collaboration in learning and artistic practice. Underlying all our work is the commitment to the arts as a vital and fundamental cultural force necessary to the functioning of a democratic society and to the education of its citizens.
The College of Fine Arts shares Illinois State University’s commitment to the pursuit of learning and scholarship, individualized attention, public opportunity, diversity, and civic engagement as expressed in Educating Illinois. These five core values are central to the University and the College as they influence and guide our priorities and plans.
Pursuit of Learning and Scholarship: The College of Fine Arts works with students as partners in their educational development as artists, performers, scholars, teachers, therapists, and lifelong patrons of the arts. The College contributes new knowledge and creative expression through research, scholarship, and creative activities, as well as other forms of individual scholarship in which all students, faculty, and staff are encouraged to participate.
Individualized Attention: By its nature, the development of artists is an intensive process that includes individualized development through small class sizes and one-on-one mentorship in specialized classrooms, laboratories, and studios. The College fosters an educational process that recognizes each student as an individual with unique creative and intellectual potential.
Public Opportunity: The College of Fine Arts believes that all citizens should have access to quality arts education and enriching arts experiences. To achieve this, the College provides educational, research, and service opportunities through a wide range of academic, public service, and outreach programs.
Diversity: The College of Fine Arts affirms the value of a creative community that has an understanding of and respect for differences among students, faculty, and staff. The College fosters an inclusive environment characterized by ethical behavior and social justice that prepares students to be fully engaged participants in a global society. Like the University, the College of Fine Arts supports a diverse faculty and staff who mentor a diverse student population in creative endeavors.
Civic Engagement: The College of Fine Arts recognizes that in order to prepare students to be informed and engaged artists and citizens it must engage in learning experiences in which students gain an awareness and understanding of the value of civic engagement. Furthermore, like the University, the College encourages faculty and staff to serve as engaged civic leaders and role models promoting the quality of life for all citizens through collaborative and individual action.
This plan utilizes Illinois State University’s strategic plan, Educating Illinois, as a guide in its form and content. It also draws upon the University’s Research, Scholarship and Creative Expression: A Strategic Research Plan and Master Plan 2010-2030: Looking to the Future. This plan is organized by major College goals, which are followed by strategies describing how to achieve each goal. Many strategies are accompanied by specific actions necessary to implement that strategy.
The purpose of this plan is to provide the College of Fine Arts with guidance over the next five years. Although the plan is broad in its scope and specific in its actions, it is not intended to limit the creation, change, or the execution of plans that come about as a result of external events or new initiatives developed by the University or College faculty, staff, and students. In light of this, the goals, strategies, and actions contained in this plan will be annually reviewed for relevance and progress.
Strategy 1 Strengthen interdisciplinary relationships.
Action: Review first-year and capstone experiences in the College to explore the development of a College-wide colloquium course that would serve students at the beginning and/or at the end of their studies.
Action: Increase the College’s curricular partnership with interdisciplinary minors in International Studies, Women’s Studies, and Civic Engagement, etc.
Action: Pursue new collaborative minors, sequences, and degree programs with units outside the College.
Action: Establish curricular goals that foster an understanding of civic engagement as a lifelong responsibility in the arts.
Strategy 2 Encourage more international study.
Action: Develop plans of study for all majors incorporating semester- or year-long study abroad experiences, while maintaining the appropriate time-to-degree.
Action: Foster student and faculty exchanges with international universities.
Action: Establish Global Initiatives Committee across the College to investigate internal and external opportunities.
Strategy 3 Improve coordination among College academic programs.
Action: Clarify points of mutual interest among technology-dependent programs such as Arts Technology, Graphic Design, Theatre Design, and Integrated Media and seek to coordinate curricula when feasible.
Strategy 4 Review and update selected sequences, minors, and degrees within the College to distinguish the College as a leader in curricular innovation.
Action: Determine the feasibility of creating new programs and units in the College that leverage the strengths of current programs.
Action: Develop on-line instruction to provide more flexibility in vying for a wider student population.
Action: Examine feasibility and interest for College-wide cross-disciplinary courses.
Strategy 5 Improve time-to-degree for select programs. The College of Fine Arts is committed to a four-year baccalaureate degree.
Action: Develop a culture where students are expected to complete their degree in four years.
Action: Research curricular practices and review all curricula for time-to-degree.
Action: Promote flexible curriculum strategies enabling students to take full advantage of unique opportunities to enhance their undergraduate experience.
Action: Examine undergraduate plans of study for curricular barriers for non-traditional and transfer students.
Strategy 1 Establish Appointment, Salary, Promotion and Tenure (ASPT) policies that encourage innovation and teaching excellence.
Action: Articulate meaningful learning outcomes in all courses.
Action: Emphasize long- as well as short-term assessment measures of successful teaching.
Action: Encourage participation in Center for Teaching, Learning & Technology training.
Action: Include the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning as a valued scholarship activity in all ASPT documents.
Strategy 2 Strengthen ties between research/creative activity and teaching.
Action: Foster the development of special topics courses in specific research areas of individual faculty members.
Action: Foster faculty research colloquia/exhibition/performances in courses.
Strategy 3 Develop a faculty recruitment plan to tie position priorities to program areas of greatest need.
Strategy 1 Increase the level of external funding across the College.
Action: Establish a cohort of grant-writing mentors to build a structure of shared support and responsibility for grant writing, submissions, and funding in the College.
Action: Continue to pursue private foundation support for research and scholarship targeted to the needs of our College.
Action: Develop a plan to increase the number of interdisciplinary and cross-institutional collaborations.
Action: Establish programs designed to increase staff and student involvement in formal research endeavors.
Action: Develop a plan to increase faculty and staff collaborations with other institutions to enhance competitive grant proposals.
Action: Develop a strategy to facilitate participation in pursuing external funding to support scholarship by considering flexible/differential teaching and research loads.
Action: Continue to work with our Congressional delegation to develop and promote federal initiatives and projects.
Action: Persist with the University in securing 501(c)(3) status to broaden funding opportunities for the College.
Action: Work with the Director of Development in the College to leverage matching or costsharing requirements of external funding agencies.
Strategy 2 Increase resources to enhance support for research endeavors across the College.
Action: Increase indirect cost allocations generated by successfully funded research grants and contracts in the College.
Action: Supplement University Research Grant funds dispersed to the College to encourage faculty interest in establishing international research or bilateral student exchange partnerships.
Action: Increase Dean’s Travel Awards program.
Action: Establish research and travel awards for staff members.
Action: Establish graduate research assistantships.
Strategy 3 Strengthen the sense of creative community among scholars and artists within the College.
Action: Expand the role of the College Research Committee to include enhanced faculty and staff development opportunities.
Action: Establish avenues for faculty and staff to communicate their interests and projects to their colleagues.
Action: Create a College newsletter and website highlighting the outstanding research, scholarship, and creative activities of our faculty, students, and staff.
Strategy 4 Celebrate and promote the outstanding research, scholarship, and creative pursuits of the College.
Action: Acknowledge and share in the achievement of College Research Award winners.
Action: Recognize faculty and staff who submit external grant proposals either individually or collaboratively with others across disciplines.
Action: Establish an annual research award ceremony to highlight significant achievements of faculty, staff, and student work.
Action: Develop a plan to more effectively share the research pursuits of the College to a wider audience - raising public awareness of accomplishments.
Strategy 5 Become a leader in technological applications to creative activities and teaching.
Action: Re-establish internal grants from the Office of Research in Arts Technology (ORAT) for faculty and staff development, specifically targeting experimentation with technology, the scholarship of teaching and learning with technology, or scholarly explorations of the theory, impact, and aesthetics of arts technologies.
Strategy 6 Explore opportunities for strategic relationships with external partners/communities.
Action: Continue to develop outreach initiatives to establish research agendas.
Action: Maintain and expand upon positive relationships with principal (community; governmental; school districts; community colleges) partners.
Action: Explore the creation of an Arts or Innovation Incubator designed to support artists pursuing adventurous and imaginative work in the arts.
Strategy 1 Coordinate recruitment activities across the College and University.
Action: Establish an integrated application system between the University Admissions application, the anticipated new student information system, and the College of Fine Arts two-tier applications for programs with interviews, portfolio reviews and auditions.
Action: Facilitate shared recruitment opportunities across the College.
Action: Create an administrative and technical infrastructure that fosters regular updates and maintenance of all College web pages.
Strategy 2 Utilize targeted student recruiting to increase enrollment in areas of critical need.
Action: Explore non-traditional recruiting strategies to find qualified and talented students.
Action: Enhance recruitment efforts of students with 26-29 ACTs.
Action: Increase scholarship funding from private sources.
Action: Coordinate, support, and evaluate student services and advisement systems to maximize student graduation and retention rates.
Action: Establish effective transition and retention practices for at-risk students new to the college by helping them develop and foster relationships on campus and better prepare them to face the academic and artistic rigors of college courses.
Strategy 3 Strengthen relationships with key feeder schools and two-year institutions.
Action: Create regular programming for College students and faculty to visit and perform/showcase work at key feeder high schools and colleges.
Action: Advertise faculty, student, and alumni performances in Chicago, to Chicago schools, and create engagement opportunities for secondary students.
Action: Share Fine Arts core curricula with community college faculty in an effort to create transparency and preparedness for transfer.
Strategy 4 Examine best practices in student services to facilitate improvements in graduation and retention rates.
Action: Coordinate, support, and evaluate undergraduate academic advisement systems.
Action: Establish effective transition and retention procedures for transfer, non-traditional, and at-risk students by better preparing them to balance the academic and artistic rigors within the College.
Action: Provide mentorship and other support for non-traditional and returning students.
Strategy 1 Expand our involvement in primary and secondary schools.
Strategy 2 Develop a plan for implementing region-specific exhibits, concerts, and performances featuring composers, artists, playwrights, etc. from Illinois.
Strategy 3 Increase opportunities for interaction between students and College of Fine Arts alumni.
Action: Bring recent graduates back to campus to share their experiences and give advice on starting a career.
Action: Develop physical and virtual networks of alumni who are willing to provide assistance and advice for new graduates.
Strategy 4 Develop a unified approach to community engagement with a cohesive mission, marketing strategy, and development plan.
Action: Continue the development and expansion of outreach to schools and children.
Action: Establish collaborative, community-based events drawing upon external groups to join College of Fine Arts groups in performance.
Action: Create satellite labs/studios in various community locations that would provide programming using civic engagement modules.
Action: Develop partnerships with junior highs and high schools within the community to expand opportunities in the arts to this age group.
Action: Develop a partnership with the Regional Office of Education to work with teachers in their professional development.
Action: Join and participate in the Area Arts Roundtable.
Strategy 5 Increase arts learning opportunities for special needs populations.
Action: Develop art viewing/performance experiences for children with special needs and their families.
Action: Establish the Illinois Chapter of Very Special Arts at Illinois State.
Strategy 1 Increase the scope and efficiency of facilities and equipment usage within the College.
Action: Create a College-wide facilities workgroup with the charge of developing a plan to upgrade, expand, and share resources and spaces when feasible.
Action: Encourage student inventiveness and cross-department collaboration by establishing flex-space that can be used for student-based theatre, dance, or music productions, art and arts technology installations, or integrated performances where a formal theatre structure is not needed or desired.
Strategy 2 Be proactive in identifying and addressing physical plant needs related to safety and the ability to deliver instruction within an aging infrastructure.
Strategy 3 Improve College security.
Action: Work with the University to develop procedures providing controlled evening access to buildings to improve safety while maintaining accessibility.
Action: Improve security systems for performance spaces, exhibit spaces, and storage spaces.
Strategy 4 Make public areas more welcoming to patrons and visitors.
Action: Create a permanent concessions counter in the Center for the Performing Arts lobby to be used for evening and weekend performances.
Strategy 5 Regularly showcase the work of faculty, students, and staff from all disciplines in display windows and other strategic locations around the college, drawing the attention of visitors to the work that is done in the College.
Strategy 6 Once planning dollars have been released, appoint a representative committee to engage in ongoing planning for our new complex.
Strategy 7 Continue advocacy for Fine Arts space in Uptown Normal that serves the needs of the College while providing value to the University and the town.
Strategy 1 Strengthen ties to alumni.
Action: Develop strategies to engage young alumni.
Action: Continue and expand alumni events in strategically selected locations.
Action: Encourage the development of faculty and staff social and professional ties to alumni of all eras to improve alumni connections and networking.
Strategy 2 Involve the entire College of Fine Arts in the fund raising effort.
Action: Engage academic leaders and faculty in efforts to identify and cultivate donors who are able to make significant contributions to the college.
Action: Engage students by integrating philanthropy and the expectation of a lifetime relationship with the College during enrollment and as they exit the College.
Action: Create a plan and begin efforts to cultivate significant parent contributors during and after their student's graduation.
Action: Increase student graduation giving to 50%.
Action: Increase faculty and staff participation to 90% annually.
Strategy 3 Establish a College of Fine Arts Advisory Board.
Action: Invite a group of educational leaders, arts philanthropists, working artists and involved patrons to advise the Dean and provide leadership in securing gifts to the College.
Action: Pursue professional development opportunities to increase the effectiveness of volunteers.
Strategy 4 Increase membership in the Friends of the Arts.
Action: Work with Friends of the Arts board to create a comprehensive annual calendar of events, marketing and solicitations for the organization.
Action: Partner with the Annual Giving leadership to increase response to Friends of the Arts solicitations.
Strategy 5 Increase annual giving.
Action: Partner with Annual Giving to increase effectiveness of the campaign.
Strategy 6 Increase Major Gifts.
Action: Working with faculty and staff, develop the College major gift portfolio to identify alumni and friends capable and willing to make gifts of $20,000 or more.
Action: Develop promotional materials touting the scholarship and creative work of faculty, students, and staff to be shared with prospective donors by the Director of Development.
Strategy 7 Improve patron information systems.
Action: Explore the possibility of adopting a ticketing system that provides support for fund raising efforts and audience development.