Notification of Intent to Submit a Proposal (NISP) – BFA

Notification of Intent to Submit a Proposal (NISP) – BFA

Alabama Commission on Higher Education



  1. Institution: University of Alabama
  1. Date of NISP Submission: August 19, 2016
  1. Institutional Contact Person: Ginger Bishop

Telephone: 205-348-7125



  1. Program Identification:

Title: Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre

Award: Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre

CIP Code: 50.0501

  1. Proposed Program Implementation Date: Fall, 2018
  1. Statement of Program Objectives (Objectives should be precise and stated in such a way that later evaluation/assessment of program outcomes is facilitated.):

Provide professional training to prepare students wishing to immediately enter the commercial entertainment field upon graduation. As this is a professional degree program, the ultimate assessment will be the number of graduates employed in the field and the quality of those positions.

Potential employment areas include, but are not limited to, Acting and Musical Theatre at the national and regional levels (“Broadway” and regional theatres), national and international tours, television, film, cruise ships, and digitally distributed content, and Design and Production at all levels noted above, as well as manufacturing, management, sales and installation in all areas of entertainment equipment and technology.

Graduates of the University of Alabama, College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Theatre and Dance’s Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) program will have:

  • A mastery of skills in Acting
  • A mastery of skills in Musical Theatre
  • A mastery of skills in Design and Production

(Each area will have an expected core competency and skill set.)

  1. Relationship of program to other programs within the institution.
  • How will the program support or be supported by other programs within the institution?

This program will both support and be supported by our long-standing BA in Theatre program. Many of the courses already in place will be taken by students in the BFA. For example, in the acting area we offer 13 three-hour courses, covering a wide range of topics (voice, movement, combat, scene study, etc.). A student in the BA typically enrolls in six to seven of these courses, but the breadth of courses gives students options within the acting area. A student in the BFA program with an acting emphasis will take all of the acting courses, as well as additional courses in directing, stage management, makeup, etc., all of which are already being offered by the department.

  • Will this program replace any existing program(s) or specialization(s), options or concentrations within existing programs?

Yes: ____                                       No: _X__

      If yes, please explain.

  1. If this program is duplicative of any other programs in the state, please give your rationale for program duplication.

In many universities the BA and BFA are both offered, and the BFA is in high demand nationally. While exact figures are difficult to ascertain, we lose many potential students each year due to our lack of the BFA option. At state, regional, and national recruiting events, as well our on-campus audition days, one of the first questions asked is “Do you have a BFA?” and then “Why not?”.  We are at a severe recruiting disadvantage for a substantial number of students looking at theatre programs. The BFA in Theatre is not a new degree program in the classic sense. It is an extension of our well-established and long-standing BA degree in Theatre. The BFA will be offered in addition to our BA.

The BFA typically comprises approximately 65-70 hours in the major area of study, with those additional 25-30 hours beyond the BA replacing the traditional minor. (In contrast, those students pursuing the BA will have a minor or second major.) The BFA is viewed nationally as a professional degree, providing the student additional skills-based classes not allowed in the BA due to the hour limitation, and preparing them to enter the profession immediately—in this case, professional theatre and entertainment.

  • Auburn has the only full range BFA program accredited by the National Association of Schools of Theatre (NAST).
  • UAB has a NAST accredited BFA in Musical Theatre.
  • Samford has a NAST accredited BFA in Musical Theatre.
  • Montevallo has multi-area BFA programs but is not NAST accredited.
  • USA has multi-area BFA programs,but is not NAST accredited.

The Theatre program at UA has many distinctive features, providing opportunities not available in other BFA programs, including:

  • Large and diverse faculty/staff, offering a broad range of specialized training
  • Annual showcase in New York City for fourth-year students
  • Annual professional summer theatre (SummerTide in Gulf Shores, AL)
  • Large number of on-campus performance opportunities, with a minimum of eight full-scale productions per year
  • Production of an Off-Broadway show (every other year)
  • Collaboration with regional professional theatres
  • Wide of array of guest artists and lecturers
  • NAST-accredited BA and MFA, as will the BFA. (Note: We were the first Theatre program in the state to receive NAST accreditation in 1986.)
  1. Do you plan to explore possible program collaboration with other institutions? Please explain.

At this time, there are no plans for collaboration with other institutions. However, collaboration with other programs and institutions will be explored in the future.

  1. Do you anticipate the use of distance education technology in the delivery of the program? Please explain.

The nature of training in the performing arts dictates live student-teacher interaction, so the majority of courses will not be delivered through distance education. However, some courses such as histories and technology could be delivered online in the future.

  1. What methodology will you use to determine the level of student demand for this program?

We will survey our current students as well as applicants in the 2016-2017 year.

  1. What methodology will you use to determine need for this program?

We anticipate providing jab statistics from the Bureau of Labor, and position availability and job placement statistics from professional associations including the National Association of Schools of Theatre, the United States Institute for Theatre Technology, Southeastern Theatre Conference, United Scenic Artists, Actors Equity and the Screen Actors Guild.



Chief Academic Officer



Graduate Dean (if this is a graduate program)




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