Mills College Retains Undergraduate Dance Major

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Faculty, Administration Find Common Ground to Revitalize Program

“We’re delighted the dance department worked diligently to redesign this major, one of many at Mills that help define its legacy in the fine arts,” said Mills President Alecia DeCoudreaux.

Mills College is pleased to announce it will continue offering students an undergraduate major in dance. The move allows Mills to retain the longest running college dance program in the United States, which offers major, minor and graduate degrees in the art form.

“We’re delighted the dance department worked diligently to redesign this major, one of many at Mills that help define its legacy in the fine arts,” said Mills President Alecia DeCoudreaux. “Redesigning the dance major is an example of how Mills can retain a contemporary liberal arts education in a competitive environment that demands continuous innovation.”

Heeding a call by DeCoudreaux for Mills faculty and administration to collaborate on more efficient academic offerings, Head of the Dance Department Sheldon Smith and his colleagues in the department devised a viable solution to keep the undergraduate major in dance, noted for preparing students to be both artist-thinkers and refined practitioners competent in multiple dance idioms. Smith’s solution includes lowering expenses, reducing course requirements, streamlining class schedules, and taking a more culturally inclusive and interdisciplinary approach to dance.

The decision to retain the major in undergraduate dance is part of an effort by the faculty and administration to continuously re-imagine curriculum for the needs of current and incoming students.

Over the last two years Mills faculty developed proposals currently under consideration for new data science, economics, education, health, and urban studies programs. In October, the school proposed revising and closing some programs to reduce costs. The school’s current annual budget plan, which reflects efficiencies from the curricular changes, is scheduled for approval by trustees in May.

In a related development as a result of an outpouring of national and international support for Book Art, the school is evaluating fundraising opportunities that would establish a perpetual endowment for the program.

About Mills College
Located in Oakland, California, in the heart of the San Francisco Bay Area, Mills College is a nationally renowned independent liberal arts college for women with graduate programs for women and men. Ranked one of the top-tier regional universities in the West by U.S. News & World Report, Mills is also recognized as one of The Best 380 Colleges in the nation by The Princeton Review. Since 1852, we’ve been empowering students to become creative, independent thinkers who take and inspire action. For more information, visit http://www.mills.edu.

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Jeanne Herrera
Mills College
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