April 5, 2012
Metropolitan State University of Denver
Take a bow: Theatre Department wins accreditation from the National Association of Schools of Theatre
By Cliff Foster
|Marilyn Hetzel's 'long journey' ends with accreditation for the Theatre Department she leads.|
Metro State Professor Marilyn Hetzel began what she calls a “long and arduous journey” in 2007 to win accreditation for the Theatre Department she leads.
That journey ended this month when she received word that the department is now an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Theatre (NAST), making the College the first institution of higher education in Colorado to gain that stamp of approval.
NAST, founded in 1965, is the national accrediting agency for theatre and theatre-related disciplines. It establishes standards for undergraduate and graduate degrees and other credentials, and has 175 member institutions.
To become eligible for NAST membership, Hetzel and her colleagues had plenty of homework to do. They submitted detailed descriptions of the Theatre Department’s program, its faculty, processes, goals, and even how much space it uses, among other documentation.
NAST site reviewers arrived at the College in 2010. They spent 3 ½ days on campus, looking through files, transcripts and other material, meeting with students, and sitting in on a production of the musical “Anything Goes.”
“They felt that we met the standards,” Hetzel says. “There was just one thing they wanted us to do.”
The department had to demonstrate that bachelor of fine arts students complete a major project, such as landing a key role in a production or taking on a major technical project. So the department created the B.F.A. Practicum: Music Theatre and the B.F.A. Practicum: Applied Technology and designed a process to meet the reviewers’ request.
NAST was satisfied.
Accreditation raises the department’s profile and gives it a vehicle to network with other programs. It also shows that Metro State’s Theatre Department belongs center stage.
“An accredited program is seen to be one that has…standards that are comparable to those across the nation,” Hetzel says. “It is saying that you have the highest standards possible and that you want to maintain that level of performance.”