Board of Trustees welcomes the School of Music, Theatre and Dance


Oakland University President Ora Hirsch Pescovitz participated in her first Board of Trustees meeting on Wednesday, August 7.  In the spirit of her vision to have pride in the school, she started the meeting by recognizing some students and a faculty member she feels are doing exceptional things — Dr. Satish Walia, Erika Cleary and Mary Asher.

Pescovitz then welcomed professor Mike Mitchell, the director of the Oakland Chorale. He showcased some of the department’s students in a performance by the chorale, which recently returned from Europe. The group performed one of the songs they had sung while in Slovenia. 

After Pescovitz’s presentation, the BOT moved on to a proposal to rename the Department of Music, Theatre and Dance to the School of Music, Theatre and Dance. Distinguished professor of the Department of Music, Theater and Dance, Jackie Wiggins, made the case for the school.

Kevin Corcoran, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, explained that if the department were to become a school, it would still be housed in the CAS for financial purposes. Wiggins explained that with the establishment of a school, it would make the program more competitive, “increase external awareness” as well as provide more focus for students who want to singularly pursue music, theatre or dance. 

After Wiggins’ presentation, the board unanimously voted to make the department a school. Wiggins said she is feeling “excitement and a relief for the future.” Wiggins will serve as the interim director of the school, there will also be an associate director with three department chairs for the three departments — music, theatre and dance.

This meeting also served as the end of Board Chair Richard DeVore’s term. However, the BOT decided he will remain in his position until 2018 and Vice Chair W. David Tull will remain the vice chair instead of taking DeVore’s place, which is customary.

The BOT will meet again on Oct. 16 in the Oakland Center.