Lake Tahoe Community College defers decision regarding theatre arts department |

Lake Tahoe Community College defers decision regarding theatre arts department

Autumn Whitney
LTCC deferred the decision regarding the future of its Theatre Arts Department to 2018.
Courtesy / Susan Boulanger |

The decision regarding the future of Lake Tahoe Community College’s Theatre Arts Department has been postponed in order to allow for greater community involvement, according to college officials.

The LTCC Board of Trustees voted on Tuesday, Jan. 17, in approval of LTCC President Kindred Murillo’s recommendations on how best to move forward with the theatre program.

In her recommendation, Murillo and the LTCC administration noted six new items, in addition to the formation of a task force focused on improving the program.

“Basically the recommendation is to continue the [program vitality assessment] process, and allow time to work with the community-based task force. We’ll continue until the ’17-18 academic year. The deferment allows greater community involvement,” said Jeff DeFranco, administrative services vice president.

DeFranco takes over as LTCC president after Murillo’s retirement on Feb. 1 this year.

“We’re expanding the time frame predominantly to allow the task force, which is individual community members interested in finding solutions to keep the theatre program, to work.”

The bullet-pointed list of recommendations includes:

The theatre arts department instructor learning Canvas for the upcoming spring quarter, when she will also teach a general education theatre course online.

Limiting the theatre productions to one per year to be held in spring.

Allowing the Duke Theatre scheduling to be conducted through the direction of the vice president of academic affairs

Negotiating workloads for faculty and staff — with no reduction in force at this time — and considering a reduction of force in January of the 2017-18 academic year based on the program’s progress.

Ultimately, the decision was postponed due to community support for the theatre arts department and a desire to allow more time for the task force to work before potential program discontinuance.

What is the task force?

On Nov. 29, the LTCC trustees held a study session in which they listened to community input regarding the school’s theatre program. At the meeting, the community based task force was formed. It focuses on evaluating how to improve theatre arts department for-credit class enrollment, in addition to forming a sustainable community theatre model at the college.

“We want to revitalize and reinvigorate this program.

“In the overarching task force, we’ll have one group looking at a community model, and one looking at reinvigorating the academic program. These may not be mutually exclusive,” DeFranco said.

The task force is comprised of community members passionate about the theatre arts, as well as LTCC faculty and staff members. The administration expressed additional interest in getting student input to give the task force a well-rounded approach and allow all voices to be heard.

Mark Williams, academic senate president and LTCC music faculty member, also is coordinating meetings with the Lake Tahoe Unified School District.

One issue brought up at the Jan. 17 meeting was the lack of measurable outcomes currently set for the task force. The ultimate goal is to examine the best ways to improve theatre enrollment and form a sustainable theatre model, but members of the public — as well as a few board members — expressed concern over how success will be measured. All were in agreement that the task force must begin work soon in order to provide outcomes before reevaluating the theatre program’s state in one year.

The Board of Trustees hopes to have clear, measurable goals set by its Feb. 14 meeting.

To learn more about the history of the LTCC Theatre Arts Department’s Program Vitality Assessment, visit or call the LTCC instruction office at 530-541-4660, ext. 373.

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