Changing Course
A detailed look at curricular innovation at Meadows
Story by Mary Guthrie
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By pushing curriculum boundaries, Meadows is making sure that our students are prepared to exceed the challenges of a fast-paced world.

Over the past eight years, bold moves were made to broaden the reach and impact of Meadows curriculum. New interdisciplinary majors and minors were added; entrepreneurship curriculum, once offered only to graduate students, was extended to undergraduates; the Meadows Scholars Program was launched to attract more top-ranked students to SMU. The National Center for Arts Research was launched, the new Arts and Urbanism initiative began and community engagement was amplified. The updates all took place with the generous support of The Meadows Foundation and under the leadership of former dean José Bowen, an award-winning educator, author, musician and speaker who led the school from 2006 until his departure in summer 2014, when he took over as president of Goucher College in Maryland.

The following is an inside look at our milestone moments from 2006 to 2014, which paved the way for the next era of exciting innovations at SMU Meadows School of the Arts.


SMU receives a historic $33 million grant from The Meadows Foundation to support SMU Meadows School of the Arts and the Meadows Museum. New dean José Bowen arrives. Meadows has 111 full-time faculty members.


Dean Bowen seeks to expand arts administration curriculum at the grad and undergrad level; Dr. Zannie Giraud Voss appointed chair of the Division of Arts Administration. Meadows and Cox School of Business jointly unveil the new William J. O’Neil Business Journalism program, named after alum O’Neil (B.B.A. ’55), chairman and CEO of Investor’s Business Daily. Mark Vamos, former editor-in-chief of Fast Company and former senior editor of Newsweek and BusinessWeek, appointed as the program’s first chair. Art History turns attention to the expansion of its graduate programs.


New Meadows Scholars Program established to attract top-ranked students to SMU; 10 students are named Scholars with the help of 12 donors. Piano Pedagogy, formerly offered to undergrads as a B.M. and to graduate students as an M.M., now offered only at the M.M. level.


Meadows secures an endowed distinguished chair position
to accelerate the launch of a new Ph.D. in Art History. Temerlin Advertising Institute launches its new M.A. in Advertising, made distinctive by combining five benefits unavailable elsewhere in the U.S.:  location in a top-ten media and communications market; inclusion of a study-abroad experience at the graduate level; a focus rich in social responsibility and entrepreneurship; an intensive, semester-long industry practicum; and four distinct specialization tracks. Dean Bowen champions the new Center of Creative Computation, an intra-campus center that blends computer science, engineering and art with coursework from both Meadows and Lyle School of Engineering. Leader of the new center is artist, author and computer science ace Ira Greenberg. Music repackages the Artist Certificate into two graduate-level programs: the Performer’s Diploma and the Artist Diploma.


Double-majors on the rise: Art adds a B.A. that provides students a sound footing in all aspects of art while also allowing time for students to double-major in an additional degree. Lively discussions are underway about bigger changes to curriculum at Meadows; several proposals for curriculum changes are sent to the Provost’s office for review and approval. SMU Meadows creates a new alumni relations and annual giving staff position to bolster community and support.


Six new minors added: Arts Entrepreneurship; Arts Management; Creative Computing; Fashion Media; History of the Visual and Performing Arts; and Intermedia Theory and Practice. Art History unveils its new Ph.D., the first art history Ph.D. program in North Texas. Meadows expands its community engagement efforts; the “Las Huellas” project involves 17 Meadows Scholars from various divisions partnering with the Dallas Mexican American Historical League on an oral history and photo archive project in West Dallas. Music adds the SYZYGY new music and POINT interdisciplinary ensembles. The M.F.A. in Dance pirouettes offstage. Three divisions update their names: “Arts Administration” is now “Arts Management and Arts Entrepreneurship (AMAE)”; “Corporate Communications and Public Affairs” is now “Communication Studies”; and “Cinema-Television” becomes “Film and Media Arts.” Meadows secures the Marriott Family Endowed Professorship.


Dean Bowen heralds the new Entrepreneurship minor as one of Meadows’ most significant curricular initiatives, giving undergrads “the opportunity to learn how to turn their artistic dreams into sustainable business plans.” James Hart hired to lead the new AMAE undergraduate entrepreneurship program, one of only a handful of such programs in the country. Meadows explores the creation of a new center for arts research. Additional new degrees include the B.A. in Creative Computing and a new minor in Graphic Design. SMU makes sweeping changes to what was known as “General Education” requirements; moving forward, all students entering SMU now required to complete the new “University Curriculum,” consisting of three main coursework components: Foundations, Pillars and Capstone, plus eight different Proficiencies and Experiences.


The National Center for Arts Research (NCAR), a national initiative to act as a catalyst for the transformation and sustainability of the U.S. arts and cultural community, is launched with numerous national partners. Its first report identifies performance drivers and determines value of managerial expertise. High interest and momentum in the new Fashion Media minor spurs the addition of a new B.A. in Fashion Media, combining journalism, blogging, social media, public relations, event planning and fashion photography for those wanting to enter the trillion-dollar international fashion industry. Film and Media Arts adds a B.F.A. with emphasis on strong creative and production skills for students seeking a career in filmmaking. AMAE partners with two international universities – HEC in Montreal and Bocconi in Milan, Italy – to launch a new Master of Management in International Arts Management (M.M.I.A.M.) degree, in which students study for four months on each campus. Master of Music in Theory Pedagogy offered after research by Professor David Mancini revealed there are only three or four similar programs in the U.S. A new “Community Series” is launched, bringing student performances to audiences across the Dallas area. Two new minors are added: Songwriting and the long-awaited Musical Theatre. Community outreach extended by addition of new music Ensembles-in-Residence Altius Quartet and Brazen Brass. A generous gift from Sarah Fullinwider Perot (’83) and Ross Perot, Jr. is given in honor of Sarah’s mother to establish the Leah Young Fullinwider Centennial Chair in Music Performance. Meadows begins exploring the relationship between arts and urbanism and hires Clyde Valentín as a director to integrate activity.


Meadows now has 135 full-time faculty. Film and Media Arts announces it will launch its new M.A. in Popular Film and Media Studies degree in fall 2015. Dean Bowen announces he will take over as president of Goucher College in Maryland; Sam Holland appointed dean. NCAR releases its second report in fall 2014. USA Today College reports that Meadows is named the #1 music school in the nation by college ranking organization College Factual.