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On the Record: Music and Theatre Arts Program Facts

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UCC clarifies the role and importance of its Music and Theatre Arts Programs.

ROSEBURG, Oregon – A well-intentioned but inaccurate message was recently circulated in the community suggesting that music and theatre were being terminated at Umpqua Community College (UCC). Many people responded with very impassioned messages about the importance of the arts in our community, which the College agrees with wholeheartedly. The following is being shared with the public to help clear up any misinformation:

  • Since 2017, UCC has graduated 5 music students from the music transfer programs. We have some students who take music classes but never declare music as a major.
  • UCC has several students who major in other programs on campus, but take music classes or participate in Umpqua Singers. Additionally, many students leave after year one and transfer.
  • The College's general education music courses in the AAOT program have a healthy enrollment.
  • We are examining our enrollment trends to determine what UCC's music program should look like given the interest of our students and community members.
    • Note: Community ensemble groups can range from 10 to 75 people depending on the term. Many years ago, we were allowed to count the people in these groups for our allocation from the state; HECC removed that ability 15 years ago. So, these numbers are not officially on record and do not count toward enrollment numbers. UCC will work with the community to determine identify resources to sustain these ensembles.
  • Theater courses like Acting or Production average 0-3 students. However, a theater course in general education like a history or film course typically has healthy enrollment.
  • The College spends between $160k and $170K on Music and between $77k and $85k on Theater out of its annual general fund.
  • Performing Arts programs are vibrant and sustainable when enrollment and fundraising effectively cover instructional, program, and operational costs.
  • To cover instructional and facility costs, a minimum of 12-15 students per course is needed.
  • Music and theater, along with other programs on campus, have been examined from multiple angles since 2019. Perspectives for evaluation include enrollments, faculty-to-student ratios, budget, community connections, high school connections, and so forth.
  • By May 1, UCC will have a music task force and a theater task force formed. To the extent possible, the membership of these tasks forces will include current students, community members, professional affiliates, high school representatives, and alumni. The College will provide direction for these groups so that their recommendations can be used to ensure that both areas have every opportunity to be successful.
  • UCC will continue to have the same full-time theater faculty member it currently has in Fall 2021. The focus will be on rebuilding theater at UCC.
  • Courses required in the A.S. music program will be offered this Fall. The program will continue to be led by the same full-time music faculty member currently employed at the College.
  • At the time this information is being shared, the College's official admissions report shows that five students wish to focus studies in Performing and Visual Arts. UCC will only offer one theater course this Fall until such time the College has been able to identify a significant number of students interested in theater. UCC does not offer a degree in theater; we offer a collection of courses (when enrolled) as part of our transfer program. We also prefer to offer a couple of theatrical productions a year; however, attendance was low in 2018 and 2019, and of course we are dealing with the impact of COVID-19 at this time. We desire to offer productions with consistency.
  • Increasing enrollment will make a huge impact toward UCC's success in these two programs. In addition, diversifying UCC's offerings will be needed such as high school connections, summer institute or festival, and so forth. The College needs to determine a viable way to account for each member of our community ensembles in a way that is accepted by compliance and funding agencies.
  • It is imperative for UCC to offer meaningful and sustainable events with robust attendance to meet the community needs and interests.
    • Examples include, but are not limited to: provide an integrated performing arts series; offer courses through high school connection; establish community ensembles that bring in FTE with consistency; offer summer arts institutes or festivals; create internships with professional arts venues; invite touring groups, artist-in-residence program; etc.
  • UCC cannot be all things to all people, and cannot keep doing business the way we have for multiple years; but the College can certainly structure its programs and offerings in a way that is financially sustainable and meaningful for all involved.
  • Bottom line: UCC should be positioned as the destination choice for education, cultural events, and arts education enrichment in Douglas County and beyond.

About Umpqua Community College

Nestled in the beautiful North Umpqua River Valley, Umpqua Community College is the regional center for higher education in Douglas County, Oregon. UCC provides high quality college degree programs, workforce development, and community learning opportunities.

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