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USITT Offers Revised Tenure & Promotion Guidelines for College Theatre Production Faculty

USITT Offers Revised Tenure & Promotion Guidelines for College Theatre Production Faculty

USITT has released new Tenure and Promotion Guidelines for evaluating college theatre production faculty whose primary research and creative activity outlet is performance.

The revision process took three years, involved multiple contributors, and produced a document that anyone can access for free here.

USITT originally created the guidelines in 1987 to address a long-standing problem of how to evaluate theatre production personnel being hired for college teaching positions. Their creative work in design, production, and theatre technology are difficult to assess in the same way as traditional academic scholarship, said USITT president-elect Mark Shanda (pictured).

USITT last revised the guidelines in 2000. The new version adds projection design as an emerging discipline, and includes greater use of computer technology among the necessary tools for success for technical directors and designers.

Shanda, dean of arts and humanities in the College of Arts and Sciences at The Ohio State University, said he would invite any college theatre programme to use the revised guidelines to clarify their tenure process for production faculty. “The new guidelines are a helpful resource for all faculty and administrators involved in academic theatre,” he said.

USITT’s position is that “all off-campus design and production work be considered the equivalent of juried, refereed publication.” Faculty involved in the creation of new works have an obligation to disseminate it through public performance. The guidelines advise how to document and share that work for academic evaluation.

The revised edition continues USITT’s stance that the most appropriate terminal degree for production faculty is the Master of Fine Arts. It also addresses the specific roles of costume designers and technicians, projection and media designers, scenic designers, stage and production managers, technical directors, sound designers, and lighting designers.

USITT’s board of directors approved the new guidelines this fall, and offer the document as a free resource “to any and all who wish to put it to use to establish clear performance standards by which production faculty should be evaluated by colleagues and administrators,” Shanda said.

USITT will share the guidelines with several affiliate organisations including the Association for Theatre in Higher Education, National Association of Schools of Theatre, the Council of Colleges of Arts and Sciences, the Committee on Institutional Cooperation, and the International Council of Fine Arts Deans.

The guidelines may be added to college or university P&T documentation to:

  • clarify criteria and expectations for academic production personnel,
  • provide a recognised industry standard in annual as well as promotion reviews, and
  • offer strategies to tenure candidates for documenting their work and preparing their portfolio materials for external review.

Many academic institutions already use USITT guidelines as their standard. USITT will continue to update and share them as part of its mission to promote performing arts design and technology education.

15th December 2014

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