Ryerson produces a new degree

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By Dorin Grunwald

One of Ryerson’s last diploma programs has become the university’s first Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree.

The proposal to combine the three-year dance and theatre dimplomas to create the BFA was passed at Ryerson’s board of governors meeting on Monday.  The school’s first students will be admitted for September, 1999.

Though current students will graduate with a diploma, Sandy Black, chair of the theatre school, said Ryerson will “try and make it as convenient as possible for diploma students to come back and take that degree.”

Black said pressure to change the program came mostly from the industry.  He said students need solid training in dance and theatre if they are “to compete in a changing performer’s world.”

“The piece of paper is becoming increasingly important in this profession, and … I think it’s fair to say we lost some promising students because we weren’t able to offer a degree.”

For similar reasons, the theatre school’s technical production program became a Bachelor of Applied Arts four years ago.  Black said some graduates did return to upgrade their diplomas to the bachelor’s degree, but can’t predict how many dance or theatre graduates return for an upgrade.

Although York University and the University of Toronto both offer a BFA, Black doesn’t like to compare Ryerson’s program to other schools.  York’s BFA is in dance and theatre, while U of T’s only includes acting.

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