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Strategic Plan

Conduct a values-based process of passing the Department and CBT to a new generation of faculty and staff leadership over the next 4-6 years.

  • Secure the fiscal health of the Department and Clarence Brown Theatre.
  • Implement best practices in diversity and inclusion hiring.
  • Retain a new Artistic Director / Department Head who is an external, nationally established theatre artist and education leader, to replace current Dept. Head / Producing Artistic Director Cal MacLean, who expects to step out of his leadership role in AY 2021-22.
  • Retain diverse, nationally and internationally established faculty and staff to replace a minimum of 3-6 senior faculty and staff who are expected to retire. 
  • Acquire a faculty line for an Assistant Professor of Theatre Technology.
  • Ensure that new faculty and staff understand and are dedicated to the dual mission of the Department.
  • Address salary inversion as new faculty are retained.
  • Provide a departmental forum to foster communication, strategic thinking in this time of change, policies and actions to foster a healthy work environment within a demanding profession, and a fair and decent work/life balance for all members of the Department and CBT staff.

Increase research, scholarship, creative activity and outreach of faculty, staff, and students, and improve reporting of achievement in these areas.

  • Develop a system for recording and reporting faculty, staff, and student research, scholarship, creative activity, and outreach.
  • Codify extensive student contributions to creative activity in a manner accessible to the Office of Institutional Research and Advancement (OIRA).
  • Recognize contributions beyond sponsored research by engaging departments, colleges, and centers to better define indicators of excellence.
  • Improve creative arts competitiveness for sponsored research through proposal support and new strategic partnerships.
  • Recognize Clarence Brown Theatre sponsors as research sponsors when applicable.

Increase facilities, enrollment, diversity, curricular and programmatic offerings in the BA in Theatre major and minor.

  • Increase classroom, studio, and equipment facilities for BA in Theatre students.
  • Increase recruiting through College and UT Marketing and Communications support for production and distribution of online and print publicity materials, especially to state and regional high schools.
  •  Increase career entry support for BA graduates through employment of guest artists – directors, designers, and actors – who are recognized leaders or emerging talents in the professional arena, to foster a network for UT theatre alumni.
  • Increase number and diversity of faculty to increase variety and capacity of courses, programs, and theatrical project and production opportunities.
  • Develop a stage management concentration in the major.
  • Sustain commitment of all faculty to teach in the BA program.

Realize the special potential of the UT MFA in Theatre programs to be leading national programs through increased diversity and increased recruitment, financial, and career placement support.

  • Increase MFA stipends, or change all MFA Designers and Actors to half-time Graduate Teaching Assistantships, due to the extraordinary hours they work and the services they render to the UT community through the theatre, public relations, and mentoring, teaching, grading, and leadership.
  • Add two more MFA assistantships for Sound and Digital Media Design.
  • Increase career support for MFA graduates through employment of guest artists – directors, designers, and actors – who are recognized leaders or emerging talents in the professional arena, to foster a network for UT theatre alumni.
  • Increase MFA recruiting success through item A, above, but also through increased College and University support for online and print publicity, faculty recruiting travel, and MFA candidate visits to campus.

Secure funding to rebuild or renovate and upgrade equipment for all three Clarence Brown Theatre performance facilities as needed for each.

  • Completely renovate or replace the Carousel Theatre.
  • Upgrade to LED equipment the 20+ year old lighting equipment for the Clarence Brown Theatre, resulting in extensive energy and financial savings.
  • Renovate the lobby and entry of the Lab Theatre and open it outward to Presidential Walk.
  • Enhance the central and most spacious plaza on the UTK campus – the CBT fountain plaza – through an integrated design with the new Carousel and the CBT.

Strategic Planning Process

This strategic plan for the Department of Theatre was devised by a Strategic Planning Committee for the Department of Theatre and its producing wing, the Clarence Brown Theatre (CBT).  The Committee was appointed by Department Head and Artistic Director Cal MacLean. 

Committee members are: 

  • Kenton Yeager, Professor and Chair
  • Jed Diamond, Associate Professor
  • Gina DiSalvo, Assistant Professor
  • Casey Sams, Associate Professor
  • Susan McMillan, Production Manager, Clarence Brown Theatre

The committee met through the spring of 2017, and conducted an online survey of faculty, staff, and students regarding strategic priorities.  A draft of this plan was then submitted to Department Head / Producing Artistic Director Cal MacLean for review, with a final draft to be reviewed by the full faculty and staff area leaders before being submitted to the College of Arts and Sciences.