ITHACA, N.Y.—Ithaca College will be moving its popular Department of Theatre Arts from its current place in the School of Humanities and Sciences to the Ithaca College School of Music.

The decision was announced at an all-faculty and staff meeting in May, IC spokesperson Dave Maley confirmed to the Ithaca Voice, after administrators had discussed it with department personnel, Maley said.

The change will be implemented during the 2022-2023 academic year, and the time between now and then will be used to plan for the transition. Though asked, Maley did not specify if the move would impact anyone’s job status.

Ithaca College was, originally, founded as a music conservatory and its music school still holds a place of prominence nationally. Currently, there are over 100 faculty and staff members listed in the School of Music and over 40 listed in the Department of Theatre Arts.

“The college has been exploring potential changes for several years, to take advantage of the synergies between programs,” Maley said. “The Department of Theatre Arts has more in common with the School of Music than it does with the School of Humanities and Sciences, where it is currently located.”

Maley further pointed out that music and theater arts both are performance-based programs, requiring an audition process for acceptance. That requirement doesn’t exist for any other department in the School of Humanities and Sciences.

During her comments at the all-staff meeting, IC Provost La Jerne Terry Cornish said the move was motivated to explore the different ways in which theater arts and music would be compatible. She did not mention if the move was in relation to the school’s controversial Academic Program Prioritization initiative during the meeting, and Maley did not clarify in his statement to the Voice either.

The school has touted the APP as a way to streamline the college and ensure its long-term sustainability, but it has evoked backlash because of its sizable faculty cuts.

Cornish did say that the Department of Theatre Arts could “conceivably” become its own school some time in the future. First, though, it will go under the umbrella of the School of Music.

“We’re going to move theater out of H&S and into Music to explore the synergies between those schools,” Cornish said during the meeting. “I think we have an opportunity, between music and theater, that we really have not fully realized, and I think it’s time for us to fully realize that.”

Matt Butler

Matt Butler is the Education & Public Health Reporter at the Ithaca Voice. He can be reached by email at mbutler@ithacavoice.com