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Academic Items of Interest

Academic Success

Attendance Policy

Double Majors

Voice and Music Lessons

How to Factor a Quality Grade Point Average (QPA)

How to Avoid Dismissal

Applying for Graduation

Academic Success

Many factors contribute to students succeeding academically in the Department of Theater and Dance. First of all, a student needs to recognize that attendance at all classes and production work calls is a first step towards beginning that successful venture. If you’re not at a class, you usually can’t catch up from someone else’s notes—and missing a call puts the whole production process off kilter. So don’t think “I’m only cutting this one class or call.” It’s a seductive rationale that usually begins the process of failing either your class and/or the production.

And there is a delicate balancing act involved for theater majors due to the demands of their classes and the demands to be involved in theater and/or dance productions. So, secondly, it is essential that all theater majors develop good time management skills. Working closely with a faculty advisor as well with as your production faculty supervisor and a good student mentor, a new theater major can begin to effectively develop these management skills.

Thirdly, students need to recognize the need to keep moving steadily forward in both their class and production developmental process. It is extremely easy for a student to believe that she or he can “catch up” with their class work once a heavy production involvement is concluded. However, this is a delusional belief, particularly if students are also working to help pay their bills. Finding the time to do your class assignments in each of your days’ schedules of classes, work hours, and production calls is a major challenge—but one that you need to actually put concretely into your schedule each day.

Fourthly, taking care of your health is a major step towards staying on top of this “balancing act” of being a successful theater major. Getting enough sleep, eating good foods on a regular basis, and staying away from drinking and drugs are all essential to maintaining good health.

Attendance Policy

The university expects all students to attend class. Individual faculty members may define attendance standards appropriate to each course, and the consequences for not meeting those standards, within the following guidelines:

  1. Each policy must be distributed in writing during the first week of the course. It is expected by the university that information dealing with class attendance standards will be distributed with the semester course syllabus.
  2. Each policy must recognize the students’ need to miss class because of illness or personal emergency.
  3. Each policy must define some limited level of allowable absence, normally at least the number of clock hours equal to course credit hours. This is actually the university policy. Translated, this would mean that if you are receiving three credits for a course, you could have up to two-and-a-half unexcused hours of class time before penalties to your class grade would be affected. Some faculty members are stricter than this policy. Some faculty members are less strict. However, if you pay attention to the first paragraph under Academic Success, you already know that no absence should be unexcused!

Double Majors

Many students choose to pursue a double major (e.g., Theater and English). When you elect to have a double major, you must designate which major you want for your primary and which you want for your secondary. Because the university usually only recognizes your primary major when assigning you an advisor, you must pick up your registration materials from that advisor. If Theater is your secondary major, you will still be assigned a Theater faculty advisor. If Theater is not your primary major, you still must make an appointment to meet with your Theater advisor before your scheduled registration date.

Please note: It is now possible to not only have two majors—but to have two degrees from IUP as a result of a double major. Please see your Theater advisor or the College of Fine Arts’ assistant dean in 110 Sprowls for further information on this new Dual Baccalaureate Degree option. You should also discuss the financial implications for a Dual Baccalaureate Degree with either your advisor or the CFA assistant dean.

Voice and Music Lessons

Private voice lessons are available with the voice faculty in the Department of Music. Students interested in getting lessons should contact the director of the Voice Area in that department. Many music faculty members also offer private music instruction outside the normal curriculum for varying lesson fees.

How to Factor a Quality Grade Point AVerage (QPA)

Course Credits Grade
ENGL 101 College writing 4 A
THTR 111 Foundations of Theater 3 B
HIST 195 History/Modern Era 3 B
THTR 122 Costume Workshop 3 A
THTR 240 Acting I 3 D
THTR 486 Practicum 1 A

This student attempted a 17-credit load. To figure out her QPA, we multiply the number of credits for each course by the numerical equivalent of the grade she received, with “A” equaling 4 quality points (QPs), “B” equaling 3 QPs, “C” equaling 2 QPs, “D” equaling 1 QP and “F” equaling 0 QPs. Total up the quality points (in this case 53) and divide by the total number of credits attempted (17) and you have the quality point average.

4 x 4 = 16
3 x 3 = 9
3 x 3 = 9
3 x 4 = 12
3 x 1 = 3
1 x 4 = 4
53 ÷ 17 = 3.12 QPA

She’s off to a pretty good start, but she’d better quit fooling around in acting class!

How to Avoid Dismissal

  1. Meet with your advisor! Make sure that you make every effort to meet with your assigned faculty advisor before you schedule for each semester. Be sure to update your Production Record in your department academic file each time you have this meeting! Check out the course offerings online for the department courses, the Liberal Studies’ courses, and any possible free electives being offered before you meet with your advisor. Make sure that you check out your own Curriculum Checklist with your advisor during each scheduling meeting to make sure that you are on the right track to graduate in four years! If you have any problems with any of your courses, please talk this over with your advisor as soon as you see that you may be in trouble. Dont wait on this! If you are not happy about the way you work with your advisor, it might be a good idea to get assigned another advisor. The best way to do that is to talk with the faculty member you want as your new advisor. If s/he agrees to add you to their advisement assignments, s/he will contact the department chair to make that change.
  2. Don’t overload. Twelve credits is the minimum to be a full-time student. However, it is necessary to take an average of fifteen credits each semester to graduate in four years. So try to figure out (with your advisor) when you can register for less than 15 credits and when you can register for more than that. A load of 18 credits or more is considered an official “overload.” In order to take this many credits, a student would need to first have the approval of their advisor, using a form provided in the department office. Then signatures must be secured from the department chair and the dean before courses could be added to a student’s schedule beyond 17.5 credits.
  3. Select courses carefully. If you have trouble with math or science, don’t take those courses first and certainly not at the same time!
  4. Drop a course. . . during the open registration and/or the official drop/add period, if you think you are in over your head. This is one of many reasons why it’s very important for you to attend all of your classes during the first week of class—and carefully review each course syllabus the day that you get it!
  5. Withdraw. Before the deadline for that semester’s course withdrawals, withdraw from a course if you know you are in trouble. However, use this option carefully, as the withdrawal stays on your academic transcript.
  6. Talk to the instructor. If you are having trouble in a course, make an appointment with the instructor and find out what you are doing wrong or what you can do to improve. Sometimes this is all you need to do to determine if you can or cannot continue to stay in a class.
  7. Don’t cut class. Too often, students get discouraged and stop attending class; this will only guarantee an “F”.
  8. Repeat a “D/F” course. Ordinarily, this is the best way to raise your grade average, but only if it is a course you are likely to pass if you take it a second time. You need to obtain a D/F repeat form from the department office and turn it into the Registrar’s office prior to starting the class that you intend to repeat. If you forget to do this, find your advisor to figure out what to do!
  9. Enroll in courses that interst you. . . in which you think you can do well even if they are not theater courses. In other words, if you are enthused by, say, European history, seek out those courses. You may even be able to use one or another of them as an approved Liberal Studies’ substitution.
  10. Try summer school. There are two sessions in the summer which together constitute the equivalent of a full semester. Students may return to good standing by attending a portion of the summer. Dismissed/probationary students may attend one or both sessions. You can also take summer courses at another institution (possibly one closer to your home town) and transfer these credits to IUP. Please make sure to have the courses that you want to transfer approved by IUP before taking them!
  11. Get some tutoring. Tutoring services for many Liberal Studies courses are available through the Learning Center.

Note: Check the Undergraduate Catalog for the Academic Standards Policy and for information on Academic Good Standing, Probation, Dismissal, and Re-Admission. Students may purchase their undergraduate catalog at the Co-op store or view it on line by selecting the year they entered IUP. This is the student’s contract with the university defining the requirements towards each student’s graduation.

Applying for Graduation

Students must apply for graduation at the end of their second-to-last semester on campus. This means that May graduates should apply by December, and August and December graduates should apply by April. The graduation application process is now on line at URSA. Reminder, the student is responsible for filling out an application for graduation before the deadline. If you have any questions about how to do this, please talk to Toni Apryasz, our department secretary, in 104 Waller Hall.

  • Theater and Dance Department
  • Waller Hall, Room 104
    401 South Eleventh Street
    Indiana, PA 15705
  • Phone: 724-357-2965
  • Fax: 724-357-3885
  • Department Office Hours
  • Monday through Friday
  • 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
  • 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.