After a rigorous evaluation process, UTC Theatre and Speech Department has received an associate members accreditation from the National Association of Schools of Theatre (NAST).
The National Association Schools of Theatre, founded in 1965, is an accrediting agency for theatre and theatre-related disciplines. It establishes national standards for undergraduate and graduate degrees and other credentials. The organization has approximately 168 accredited institutional members, including schools, conservatories, colleges, and universities.
“We’re extremely pleased because there were a number of universities that were deferred in their accreditation. It’s a real compliment to our program. It gives us a stamp of legitimacy,” Mac Smotherman said, UC Foundation Professor and Department Head of Theatre and Speech, said.
The process to accreditation began two years ago when the department compiled data for the application and official visits. The process included a self-study and visitations from past presidents of NAST. “The self-study helped us plan for the future and develop the program,” Smotherman explained.
Two faculty members from other NAST-accredited universities evaluated the program based on exhaustive criteria, including facilities, faculty, and course offerings.
“We found the entire process to be useful. We’re measuring ourselves against standards that are created by theatre educators. They’re not generic,” Smotherman said.
The Theatre and Speech Department offers a bachelor’s of arts program that combines intensive performance and production work within a strong liberal arts environment.
“There are advantages to being in a graduate theatre program, but sometimes that means undergraduates can be pushed to the side. Not that they don’t benefit being around older, more experienced actors, but the students here get a lot of attention,” Smotherman said.