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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Fine arts raises admission standard

    The Faculty Senate passed a measure yesterday to allow the College of Fine Arts to be more selective in its admissions, requiring students to show artistic talent in addition to academic merit.

    Maurice Sevigny, dean of the College of Fine Arts, said a three-year pilot program has asked students to audition for music, theatre and dance programs. Applicants to the art, media art, art history and art education programs will need to submit portfolios or written statements. .

    Applications and admissions in the College of Fine Arts

    Fall 2004: 1,002 applicants 37.7 percent admitted

    Fall 2005: 523 applicants 55.4 percent admitted

    Fall 2006: 531 applicants 58.3 percent admitted

    Source: Jacqueline Chanda, associate dean of the College of Fine Arts

    The newly approved permanent policy, like the pilot, applies to both bachelor of arts and bachelor of fine arts degrees. For many other colleges on campus, like the Eller College of Management, only professional degrees have application processes.

    Under previous open enrollment policies, up to 58 percent of fine arts students left the college before graduating, Sevigny said. He also pointed to the number of students in the media arts department, which had ballooned to 900 by 2003.

    After the pilot program, Sevigny said retention rates have risen to 80 percent, and media arts has dropped to 700 students.

    “”We’re not trying to screen kids out of our programs,”” Sevigny said. “”We’re trying to encourage the right people who have the right qualities to succeed in our business from the beginning.””

    Sevigny said his goal is to eventually have higher retention rates and a media arts department that houses between 350 and 400 students.

    Jerry Hogle, vice provost of instruction, said he had put a moratorium on selective college admissions, but he moved forward with getting approval for fine arts after raising the possibility with the faculty advisory committee.

    But several members of the Faculty Senate were concerned that having selective admissions for one college ignores the problems of other colleges.

    Beth Mitchneck, an associate professor of geography and regional development, said she was worried about students rejected from the College of Fine Arts moving and putting more strain on colleges without selective admissions.

    Data from the Office of Enrollment Management showed 412 of the 531 applicants in the fine arts were accepted last fall, and out of those who did not make it, only 26 went to other colleges. The rest stayed within the college as non-majors and will eventually need to apply again to the program of their choice.

    “”It’s not like we’re sending hundreds of students to other departments and colleges,”” said Jacqueline Chanda, associate dean of the College of Fine Arts.

    Members of other colleges also said they were upset about a difference in their ability to control whom they educate.

    “”We would all love to have control over enrollment management,”” said Roxanne Mountford, a professor of English in the College of Humanities. “”We educate whoever comes through our doors.””

    But Sevigny said fine arts students are different from those with other majors, who may start from square one. For instance, people who want to major in piano performance cannot hope to be successful unless they have had a lifelong background in the practice.

    After the measure passed its vote, Marlys Witte, a professor of surgery, said she wanted to make sure selective admissions stayed confined to as few colleges as possible.

    “”If the business school does it, if the fine arts school does it, where does it end up? Is that all that’s left of access?”” Witte said. “”That’s really not access.””

    The Faculty Senate also approved a new doctoral degree in women’s studies, as well as a masters in economic geology. Both degree programs will now head to the Arizona Board of Regents for final approval.

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