Campus Life

Communication Arts merges with Fine & Performing Arts

The University of West Florida is taking yet another positive step forward to improve academic quality and reflect the layout of larger institutions. As of Oct. 1, the Communication Arts department officially merged with the School of Fine and Performing Arts to create the School of Fine, Performing and Communication Arts.

This new structure is projected to improve cohesion and encourage departments with similar goals and complimentary disciplines to work together to enhance teaching and learning, as well as scholarly and creative activities.

“This collaboration brings together departments that focus on various means of expression. The comprehensive unit is an attempt to create the richest academic experience resources will allow for students at UWF,” said Brendan Kelly, director of the School of Fine, Performing and Communication Arts. “Together, the departments in the SFPCA are better positioned to continually pursue excellence. We are better equipped to collaborate openly, engage the community and enrich students with a focus on experiential learning than we could have as individual units.”

The change has been in the works for 18 months, and the staff has tried to foresee all bumps in the road. The curriculum and majors for the department will remain unchanged, and according to Kelly, faculty have embraced the new program and students appreciate the new layout.

“I think that the addition of the Department of Communication Arts to the School of Fine and Performing Arts will result in an energetic and innovative collaboration that will propel all four departments to new heights,” said Greg Lanier, associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and professor of honors, theatre and English. “I think that Brendan Kelly will be a great leader for the unit, and I look forward to a series of triumphs.”

“I was a bit skeptical at first, but it’s been a month into the change, and I haven’t seen any drawbacks,” said Hannah Shouppe, a senior studying public relations. “I think it’s great for everyone, and it makes sense to combine different forms of communication into one department.”

Approximately 25,000 people attend fine and performing arts events on campus every year. Kelly sees this merger as a positive development because it brings together departments that have long traditions of community engagement.

“This is going to help bring the campus to the community and bring people to the campus,” said Kelly. “The School of Fine, Performing and Communication Arts is symbolic of UWF growing and moving forward. There are lots of similarly-modeled units at universities across the country. People will see that this is not the UWF of the past, but an alignment that looks to the future.”

“I am not only excited about the new possibilities this alignment facilitates, but I’m especially proud of the manner in which this decision developed,” said Jane Halonen, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.