Western Michigan University’s Department of Dance is nationally recognized as a community that values aesthetic breadth, student choice and disciplinary excellence. In our mission as a dance community, we are committed to:

  • The highest aesthetic standards.
  • Being of service to our diverse cultural global community.
  • Excellence in creative and scholarly research.
  • Exemplary, experientially based teaching.

Department goals

The department goals and strategic action plan are aligned with the University and college strategic plans and focus on degree programs and co-curricular activities that are learner centered, globally engaged and discovery driven.

Goal one: to recruit, retain and graduate the finest students who are active contributors to the field of dance

  • Offer students the opportunity to pursue either the B.F.A. or B.A. degree.
  • Guide students in tailoring their education to their career goals.
  • Provide substantial tuition scholarships and funding for special student projects and summer study.
  • Provide strong advising and mentoring services.
  • Maintain vigorous recruitment efforts.
  • Provide performance opportunities that maximize student involvement.
  • Offer innovative curricula that reflect the emerging developments in the field.
  • Utilize the findings of a rigorous program assessment plan.

Goal two: to interface with the professional dance world and provide vibrant residencies with comprehensive professional and student interactions

  • Pursue sophisticated projects that are meaningful for skill building and professional development through the Great Works Dance Project.
  • Bring nationally and internationally recognized artists to campus to lead learner centered, globally engaged and discovery driven opportunities and educational events.
  • Partner with professional dance companies and individual artists.
  • Provide senior dance majors with off-campus immersion experiences that expand their understanding of the field and assist them in refining career goals.

Goal three: to expand our national and international recognition

  • Increase national and global visibility through extensive advertising efforts in print (e.g., Dance Magazine, Dance Teacher, Point Magazine) and online.
  • Promote the department and University through the National Choreography Competition.
  • Implement a National Honor Society for Dance Arts at the collegiate level through the National Dance Education Organization.
  • Foster connections between current students, alumni, faculty and dance professionals.

Goal four: to educate and serve our regional community

  • Build relationships with community organizations through service learning, internships and workshops.
  • Provide performances and educational events that are free or low cost and open to the community.
  • Advocate for dance in the greater Kalamazoo community in tandem with Partners in Dance and other dance or arts organizations.

Goal five: to secure the necessary resources to meet departmental goals

  • Hire faculty and staff to support the size and scope of the department.
  • Increase mentorship for faculty and students who seek internal and external funding for creative and scholarly work.
  • Secure Student Investment Project funding for projects that enhance employment readiness.
  • Seek new funding sources and opportunities for faculty development and presentation of creative or scholarly work at national and international conferences, workshops and performance events.
  • Increasing funding for student projects and summer study.
  • Provide sufficient space, equipment and time for creative and scholarly projects.

Goal six: advance innovation and discovery in all facets of faculty and student work

  • Increase the integration of technology and current trends into curricula and creative and scholarly work.
  • Investigate viability of online theory and survey courses.
  • Explore opportunities to work with other units to expand interdisciplinary offerings.
  • Integrate global perspectives in curriculum and creative and scholarly research.
  • Develop a forum for faculty and students to discuss emerging developments in pedagogy and creative and scholarly research.