Committee changes Cultural Events requirements

Cassie LaJeunesse, Campus Carrier Deputy News Editor

At the beginning of this semester, changes were implemented in the Cultural Event (CE) credit program. Last year, a committee was formed out of academic council to address a reevaluation of the CE program. Among the changes are new guiding principles and new requirements for CE credit approval.

“One of the main goals of the committee was to come up with a purpose for cultural events,” committee co-chair and associate professor of chemistry Lindsey Davis said.

According to committee co-chair and professor of psychology Kristen Diliberto-Macaluso, one of the new requirements for CE credit approval is that each event must include a speaker who is a credentialed expert on the topic. Each event must also include an opportunity for the audience to engage with this speaker, such as a question-and-answer session. 

“We wanted some engagement with the students,” Diliberto said. “We didn’t want them in there passively watching or listening.”

Diliberto and Davis believe that this student engagement improves the quality of cultural events. However, they acknowledge that the new question-and-answer requirement has caused changes in events offered for CE credit since its implementation. Fine Arts department chair and coordinator of fine arts programming Adam Hayes says that this portion of the requirements has effected which of the department’s events will apply for CE credits this year.

“In previous years, the complete Fine Arts Events Calendar was adopted in blanket fashion by the cultural events committee,” Hayes said. “With new changes to the committee’s processes, fine arts faculty now have the option of applying for CE credit for each individual event. With new criteria in place, some of our events may not meet the requirements for CE.”

Associate professor of theatre Alice Bristow says that the question-and-answer requirement is the reason that theatre productions will no longer be offered as CE credits.

“We feel that the event itself, along with the director’s notes and the dramaturgy notes, are enough for a culture event,” Bristow said. “We decided to not participate in the cultural events this year.”

Last year, Davis and Diliberto’s committee hosted listening sessions with students, faculty and staff to understand what people thought about the CE program. They asked for feedback about the purpose of cultural events, but also about potential changes to the CE program. 

The committee made changes to the Cultural Events committee itself. In the past, the CE committee has voted to approve events by email, but this year they are required to meet in person once a month. 

According to Diliberto, another one of the issues raised was the frequency of cultural events. Davis said that in the past, there have been up to five cultural events offered in a night. 

“There were too many,” Davis said. “The value of… calling something a CE goes down when there are so many.”

Associate professor of music Kris Carlisle participated in the committee and is optimistic about the changes that were made to the CE program.

“We feel very strongly that the changes we made are for the benefit of the students,” Carlisle said. “It’s really something that will enhance the experience.”

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