SofA Director looks back at School of Art’s first year: Interview with Dr. Kilpatrick

By Faith Orcino

 

The School of Art is almost done with its inaugural year and as the 25th anniversary celebration continues on campus, we look into the new School of Art with Director Jacquelyn Kilpatrick.

 

Faith Orcino: How has your first year at CSUSM been? Is there a difference in campus atmosphere or any other aspect compared to the others you have worked at? What attracted you to work here?

 

Jacquelyn Kilpatrick: ​​I’ve been here almost nine months, and it has been terrific.  The learning curve has been steep, because every campus is different–and there is much to learn–but it has been an exhilarating experience.  This is the second CSU campus I’ve worked for, and the first one, CSU Channel Islands, is also a great place to work, so when the opportunity came up to help build the School of Arts at CSU San Marcos, I jumped at it and was fortunate enough to be hired.  I have not been disappointed.  CSU San Marcos is a vibrant, growing institution, and the people here are simply wonderful.  The faculty members within SofA continually astound me with their experience and depths of talent, but most of all, I’m impressed by their absolute dedication to our students.  All in all, I’m very lucky to work here.

 

FO: Online the school announced Prof. Ching-Ming Cheng’s creation of the BA in Music Program last month, giving students a more focused and hopefully beneficial curriculum unlike the the current VPA Major with Music emphasis. Are there plans to make more separate programs for the other emphasises?  What obstacles, if any, are there to push the School further?

 

JK: ​I need to correct a couple of things.  It wasn’t only Dr. Cheng who developed the BA in Music, it was the whole music faculty.  The tenure track people in that discipline are Dr. Cheng, Dr. Bill Bradbury, Dr. Merryl Goldberg and Dr. Mtafiti Imara.  They have worked for a long time to make the BA in Music a reality, and pending approval at the Chancellor’s Office, we will begin offering that degree in Fall of 2015.  We’re all very excited about that.

 

The School of Arts (SofA) is new, officially opening on July 1 of 2014.  Before that, there was the Visual and Performing Arts (VPA) Department.  That department was created over 20 years ago and contained five disciplines/options.  The degree, a BA in Visual and Performing Arts, was designed as a very interdisciplinary degree, with four options and a variety of minors.  That very creative degree will continue to be offered, but, in addition to the Music BA, we are working on gaining campus approval for BA degrees in the disciplines of Theatre as well as Art, Media and Design (AMD), and we are beginning the planning process for Dance.

 

Moving from an option to a BA degree program takes time and work, but ultimately we would like to see each of the disciplines with individual majors. The faculty and students in those majors will continue working on exciting projects with each other and with disciplines across the university in a variety of interdisciplinary endeavors.

 

FO: How do you like to see SofA in the next five years for CSUSM’s 30th anniversary?

 

JK: SofA faculty have developed our mission statement and a vision for the School of Arts.

 

Vision Statement:

The School of Arts will be a regional leader for undergraduate and graduate education in the Arts and a hub for the Arts in our diverse communities.

 

Mission Statement:

The mission of the School of Arts is to provide an inclusive, collaborative community where artists, scholars and students actively engage in developing artistic practices, critical thinking, cultural intelligence and creativity.

During the next five years, we will be working on making SofA a true hub for the Arts in North County, building collaborations with the wealth of community and the diverse cultures that exists here, and of course we will be working diligently on creating and improving our curricula to give our students the very best experience possible.  I hope that by the 30th Anniversary of CSUSM, the School of Arts will have BA degrees in each of the disciplines, with options that allow for creatively building a life in and with the Arts.

 

With this insight we hope that students studying in the School of Art with gain more and more in their education and develop into thriving artists.