Tuesday, June 19, 2007

What Today's Universities Do: A Snapshot

What should a Master of Arts program in Theatre Arts look like? What courses should be required? What is the purpose of an MA degree?

I think graduate degrees should be about training scholars -- creating intellectuals. In Theatre Arts that means a heavy emphasis on the history of drama. If I designed the program, an MA student would read every great play, every good play and some not so good plays, from Aeschylus to Ayckbourn. In addition to book work, the candidate should also do some production work.

Since this program is more or less what I do in life anyway (without getting college credits for it), I checked out the MA program of a local college. It turns out they have a whole different conception of what an MA program should be. Although they say the program is for theatre artists, educators and people who wish to further graduate study, it looks useful only for educators.

The requirements are full of multi-culti classes such as “Chicana/o Latina/o Theatre and Drama,” “Issues in Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Theatre,” “Multicultural Images in Children’s Literature” and “Theatre in the Post-Colonial World.”

Now, what does this program really accomplish? What does it train students to do? It teaches them to teach children. Specifically, and to put it provocatively, the program trains people to use theatre to indoctrinate children with New Leftist pieties.

No, I won’t be attending this program. I will continue reading old plays that today’s MA graduates have never heard of. Why should I interrupt my education to study New Leftist propaganda?

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