College of Arts & Sciences adds five new degree programs
Bachelor's degree programs in Applied Theatre, Art History, Dance and Public Health, as well as an accelerated three-year program in Business Administration, begin this fall.
Pacific University's College of Arts & Sciences continues to strengthen its rich liberal arts curriculum with the addition of five programs designed to provide students with key competencies sought by potential employers.
Beginning this fall, students will be able to pursue bachelor's degrees in Public Health, Applied Theatre, Dance, and Art History. Additionally, those pursuing a degree in Business Administration will have the option of doing so in an accelerated three-year "Business Scholars" program.
Each of the offerings will emphasize an applied learning philosophy while staying true to the University's rich liberal arts tradition. Students will experience all that a liberal arts education offers and also put what they learn into experiential practice through community service endeavors and more.
"As an institution deeply rooted in the liberal arts, Pacific University is dedicated to building a more equitable, democratic society through civic engagement," said Sarah Phillips, associate dean and director of the College's School of Social Sciences.
"Consistent with our existing programs, these new offerings value civic engagement through an applied learning process. By putting what they learn into practice, students here will help others and themselves at the same time."
The three-year Business Scholars Program will offer highly motivated students an integrated classroom setting as well as professional networking opportunities, meetings with business leaders, hands-on internships and co-curricular activities not typically taught in the classroom.
Such activities include business etiquette sessions, ongoing skills assessment, career research endeavors, job shadowing and interview preparation.
The Public Health major, in which students can pursue either a bachelor of arts or science degree, integrates health science, social science and humanistic approaches to address the increasingly complex challenges of global health.
More than 25 percent of all new jobs created by 2018 are expected to be in the healthcare and social assistance industries, according to the Occupational Outlook Handbook.
The program's flexibility will prepare students to pursue a specific avenue of interest, including epidemiology (infectious disease), health promotion, public policy, cross-cultural work or biostatistics.
Its interdisciplinary curriculum draws from the social sciences, natural sciences and humanities to develop in students the broadest possible skill sets and competencies, Phillips said. Students can complete this major with a wide variety of courses, including biology, economics and media arts.
"We expect this program to appeal to a lot of prospective students who know Pacific for its reputation as an educational leader in the health professions," Phillips said.
Another program likely to appeal to students seeking to make a difference is Applied Theatre. Pacific will join just a handful of other universities to offer the program, which links traditional theatre skills with community service.
"Applied Theatre combines civic engagement and social activism with theatre," Phillips said. "Underrepresented populations, including the poor or disabled, have compelling stories, and this program will allow students to tell those stories on stage as a way to both entertain and educate the public. Bringing important social issues to life is a much more compelling way to make a point than simply citing statistics."
David DeMoss, associate dean and director of the College's School of Arts & Humanities, said students majoring in Applied Theatre will have a variety of prospective audiences to work and interact with, including children, senior citizens and those with medical challenges.
"They may want to teach kids about the environment or social interaction, perform with older Americans, or use theatre to advocate for the disabled or disenfranchised," DeMoss said.
"Just in its name, "Applied Theatre," we're talking about a liberal arts education in which students turn what they learn into practice. This applied aspect of curriculum is developing throughout the School of Arts & Humanities."
That includes Pacific's Dance program, which began as a minor. Under the direction of assistant professor Jennifer Camp, the program has seen significant growth over the past several years and will provide opportunities for students to perform, choreograph and learn arts management
"It reflects the strength of the program's development," Phillips said.
"What she has done is build a program that has not just attracted more students, but has elevated the caliber of dance at Pacific," DeMoss said. "The sophistication of both the curriculum and quality of performances has attracted students to Pacific who seek a career in the dance industry, enough to expand the program from minor to major status."
Technique courses include ballet, modern dance and jazz, taught by Camp and other faculty who are active professionals in the Portland community. The faculty's substantial network of professional contacts will provide numerous opportunities for students to work with artists and dance companies from around the country. Some of them will come in the form of two major concert performances the students and faculty jointly produce each year.
The College of Arts & Sciences' program additions come on the heels of a restructuring within the College from four divisions to schools of Natural Sciences, Social Sciences and Arts & Humanities.
The consolidation of the Arts and Humanities divisions into one school strengthens the University's strong interdisciplinary philosophy, DeMoss said.
Art History perhaps best illustrates this, as students will learn about the visual arts in both their historical and theoretical context. In addition to studying core courses on the history of art, students will have their choice of non-art courses that interest them, including anthropology, English, media arts and philosophy among others.
DeMoss said such a broad sphere of study within the program will illuminate the impact art has globally on cultural forces, such as politics, religion and other social systems.
Like Dance, Art History began as a minor whose curriculum has developed into a major. Assistant Professor Rebecca Twist-Schweitzer has cultivated student interest into an approved major.
"Dr. Twist-Schweitzer is an outstanding teacher who has attracted an increasing number of students into the study of art history during her time here," said DeMoss. "So much so that the University is ready for a major in this discipline. She did great research and has built what we expect to be a very strong program."
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