• To give students a broad-based performing arts education giving them flexibility to move around within the profession – to be adaptable
  • To make sure students understand the collaborative process – the ability to work well with others, to defend their artistic choices and to compromise when necessary for the greater good
  • To provide them the basic skills of set construction, costume construction, lighting and sound
  • To give them a solid foundation in the techniques of acting and directing
  • To give them a solid foundation in music theory and sight reading skills
  • To help them understand the historical background and significance of theatre, music, and musical theatre – understanding how they were shaped by the events of their time and how they commented on and illuminated those events
  • To make sure students understand how the liberal arts help to give resonance to their work in the performing arts and enhance their interpretive abilities
  • To further their abilities in appropriate writing and critical thinking skills
    To provide incentive for study abroad programs that will help to expand their world view in and out of their profession
  • To give them the knowledge and skills to teach others
  • To expose them, through field experience, to the finest works in professional theatre, dance and music
  • To understand the importance of giving something back to the university and the community
  • To provide a thorough background in the literature of theatre
  • To provide a thorough background in the literature of music
  • To prepare students for post-graduate education whether in an MA or MFA trackTo give students the training necessary to pursue a professional performance career


The following guidelines are expectations for all Performing Arts students:

  • ALL theatre arts majors (both B.A. and B.F.A. candidates) must participate in ALL main stage productions. Exceptions will be made only with prior approval of the performing arts faculty.
  • B.A. candidates must maintain a 2.0 GPA; B.F.A. candidates must maintain a 3.0 GPA in the major and 2.0 overall.
  • All B.F.A. candidates must audition for each main stage production (play or musical).
  • Students are expected to exhibit professional conduct at all times. The faculty and staff view the production season as a professional theatrical experience, and we strive to maintain an environment that is built on respect and benevolence. Fellow cast members, crew, production team, design team, and directors all deserve the same respect that that would be in an employee-employer situation. Any comments regarding assignments and workloads should be directed to your immediate supervisor, who will make every effort to solve the problem, explain the conditions, or pass the request along to the appropriate personnel. Legitimate concerns will be examined and dealt with. Please remember, the strength of our department is based upon mutual trust, so bellyaching, belittling, bullying, and backstabbing only undermines the common goal we are working toward. So save the drama for your mama!
  • Students must report for all calls for rehearsals and productions at least 15 minutes prior to the starting time. (Example: a rehearsal is called for 7pm. The participating student must be in the rehearsal space at 6:45 pm ready to begin at 7pm. If the stage crew is called for 5:30 pm then the student must arrange to be in the space by 5:15 pm). If there is a problem in meeting this requirement the student should speak with the stage manager and the director.
  • The use of cell phones is strictly prohibited during classes, rehearsals, and productions.
  • Proper clothes, including shoes are required for all dance classes and rehearsals. Dance clothes should be form fitting (no loose, baggy pants or shirts) and other rehearsal clothing should be appropriate for the show (rehearsal skirts if necessary, etc.) Avoid any clothing with big buttons, snaps, or zippers. Do not wear heavy or loose-fitting jewelry to class or rehearsal, as this is dangerous. Hair should be securely fastened; no gum; no hats. Please do not show up to rehearsals without proper foot attire. i.e. No flip flops or army boots!
  • Once cast in a show, students are not allowed to change their appearance without consent of the director and the designers. This includes coloring hair, cutting hair, visible piercing, etc. If in doubt, ask!
  • Academics are of utmost importance, and students must work hard to manage workload and prioritize studies and homework. Resources are available for students who need academic or time management assistance. A student placed on academic probation by the university may be dropped from the program if academic probation continues for more than two consecutive semesters.


Performing Arts faculty will serve as academic advisors to the majors in this department. Currently, Prof. Adams is a First Year Advisor and will assist first year students with scheduling and registering. Students may be assigned to another advisor within the department during or prior to the sophomore year. The academic advisor’s purpose is to assist the student in planning his/her course of study and in registering for courses. Advisors are here to assist; they are not responsible for ensuring that all requirements for graduation are met. This is the responsibility of the student. Students are expected to take ownership of his/her academic course of study and should become fully aware of departmental requirements (for a specific major and minor) and all-university requirements. There are checks and balances in place to assist you and your advisor in this process. Academic advising usually begins in early October during the fall semester and early March during the spring semester, although you may schedule an advising appointment with your advisor at any time. If a problem arises with your advisor, contact the Department Chair. You are free to change advisors; however, you must have the approval of the new advisor before the switch can be made. Remember, the final responsibility for planning, enrolling, completing, and succeeding in your academic program remains with you.



Self Service is your personal academic resource for your life at Rockford University. Self Service provides our learning community at Rockford University with “anytime, anywhere” access to key information services. Self Service provides students with real-time access to their academic records, including their class schedules, grades, and unofficial transcripts. Students can, review their billing statements and financial aid summary. Self Service also provides an outlet for students and faculty to interact regarding coursework.

For questions concerning problems connecting to Self Service, please contact the Help Desk at 815.226.4127 or For all other issues please contact the Student Administrative Services (SAS) office at 815.226.4062 or

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Senor Seminar/Project is required for graduation by every major field of study offered by Rockford University. The purpose of the senior seminar is for a graduating student to demonstrate knowledge of theatre both in dramaturgy and performance. The purpose continues with identifying the values of performance for the society at large and the utilization of theatrical skills in the mounting of a production/performance. The students’ evaluation of their process and product will demonstrate their ability to think in a critical manner. This seminar will demand the student draw from all of their studies in the liberal arts as well as their training in theatre.

The Senior Seminar B.F.A. Acting/Directing and B.F.A. Musical Theatre:
A student will be responsible for developing a one person show to be presented for the public.

A student will:

  1. B.F.A Acting/Directing: Select a deceased historical figure who has faced a moment of crisis or had a turning point in his or her life requiring a decision that effected a change in history OR Select a playwright, genre or time period of playwrighting that effected the nature of theatre itself. 30–45 minutes in length.
    B.F.A. Musical Theatre: Select a specific person, topic or theme that allows you to showcase yourself and the skills you have acquired in acting, voice and movement. 30–45 minutes in length.
  2. The choice of the one person show must be approved by the faculty director of the BFA Acting/Directing degree.
  3. A comprehensive production timeline is established by the entire faculty.
  4. The student is responsible for every aspect of the production: •research and writing
    • designing: lighting, set, props, sound( there are restrictions set by the department)
    • rehearsal
    • performance
  5. A date will be announced for a preview of the performance by the faculty. If the preview goes well then the student may proceed to the final performance. If the preview reveals the student is not on track for a final presentation, then a second preview is scheduled. At that time the faculty will observe the students implementation of their suggestions from the first viewing. The faculty will decide if the student will be allowed to present in the scheduled series of one person shows. If the student is pulled from public performance then the student will present the senior seminar to the senior level acting class. The result of this action will be an automatic reduction in the final senior seminar grade.
  6. A daily journal is required. The purpose is to help the senior student see the day-by-day process of the development of the work. The student should begin the journal by exploring the various ideas they have for the senior seminar. It allows the student an opportunity to express the problems and the frustrations of the process. This document is the journey of the project. It assists with the collection and examination of ideas. It documents the progress of imagination and creativity.
    •The journal will be collected at various points throughout the rehearsal period by the
    BFA Acting/Directing Director for review
    •At the conclusion of the final performance the journal is collect for review.
  7. The students will not write a twenty page paper, a requirement for the BA degree, but they must document their research with a detailed bibliography due the day of performance (examples of this will be provided.)
  8. A five page assessment paper is due five days after the last performance. The assessment paper is the same structure as the assessment papers written in the all of the acting/directing classes from freshman to senior year.


Notes specific to the BFA Acting/Directing Senior Seminar:

  • Selection of the performance space is subject to approval by the faculty and availability. The faculty director of the seminar/project will be the liaison to the faculty at large in the choice of performance space.
  • Props, costumes and set subject to approval of the faculty. The faculty director of the seminar/project will be the liaison to the faculty at large in the choice of necessary performance items.

The Senior Seminar B.A. Theatre (non-performance):
Students will select a topic of your choice on which you can write and in-depth analytical paper of 20 pages in length. The paper cannot be totally a research paper. The student must use the research that is presented to draw their own conclusions.

Students must submit a:

  • Thesis proposal
  • Outline
  • Introduction
  • Annotated bibliography
  • Draft of a rough section
  • Draft of the entire paper


The Senior Seminar B.A. Music:
Music majors have three choices for their Senior Seminar project, which is to be completed in their final semester at Rockford University. Senior Seminar may be taken prior to the final semester if the student is double majoring in something else. Students may opt to write a research paper or perform a senior recital or lecture recital in conjunction with a shorter paper. The Senior Seminar is required for all graduates of Rockford University, regardless of major, and represents the culmination of your collegiate studies.

Research Paper
For students whose emphasis is not performance, he/she may opt to write a research paper on the topic of his/her choice (in consultation with Professors Hendry and/or Adams). Requirements are the same for the “Senior Seminar B.A. Theatre (non-performance)” listed above.

Senior Recital
For students with a performance emphasis, the Senior Seminar will consist of a full recital along with a 10-page paper about the music and composers on the recital and a journal documenting the process and preparation for the recital.

Senior Recital guidelines:

  • A full recital is no less than 50 minutes of music, but no more than 60 minutes of music.
  • Recital repertoire should be selected in consultation with your private lesson instructor.
  • Recital selections should include a minimum of four different languages (including English). Exceptions may be made in rare cases.
  • Recital date and location must be booked within the first four weeks of the semester preceding the recital. For instance, an April recital should be booked no later than the end of the September prior, and an October recital should be booked by the middle of February of that year.
  • A pre-recital showing will be presented by the student and the accompanist at least three weeks prior to the recital. All music MUST be memorized at the showing. This date should be booked within the first two weeks of the semester of the recital.
  • The department will contribute $300 to the cost of an accompanist for the recital. This should include the pre-recital showing, the dress rehearsal, the final performance, and 5 additional hours of rehearsal. Additional rehearsal time is encouraged, but the cost will be the responsibility of the student.

Lecture Recital
Some students may choose the Lecture Recital format, which is the presentation of a full recital with lecture, a five-page paper documenting the student’s research, and a journal documenting the process and preparation for the lecture recital. This may interest students who have a specific interest in a certain composer or a certain style or type of music.

Lecture recital guidelines:

  • At least 30 minutes of music, and the entire recital should not last longer than 1 hour and 15 minutes.
  • Recital topic and repertoire should be selected in consultation with your private lesson instructor.
  • Recital selections should include a minimum of two different languages.
  • All other guidelines are consistent with the senior recital guidelines above.


In the Spring, each sophomore student will have an informal review of their progress during the previous two years. The student’s strengths and weaknesses, future goals, and progress in the degree track will be discussed. Since most classes include an ongoing dialogue between students and professors, the sophomore review should be regarded as a continuation of those conversations. This is not a panel review but a simple conversation with the director of the student’s degree track.


For BFA Music Theatre students the juries will serve as the review with a corresponding feedback session. For BFA Acting/Directing students, the final project for 10-line Acting course (THEA 215) will serve as the review with a corresponding feedback session. BA students will have a short interview/portfolio presentation with a corresponding feedback session. For non-traditional students who transfer into the department, reviews will be discussed on an individual basis. If the review is to be productive for the student it must be open and frank. The purpose of the sophomore review is to help each student make the most of the remaining two years of educational opportunities.


Each graduating student with in the Performing Arts Department will set up an appointment with the Department Chair and one other faculty member of choice in order to assess his/her tenure and experience in the Performing Arts Department at Rockford University, and to discuss immediate and long-range career goals and plans.



Performing Arts Scholarship
The Performing Arts department recommends awards based on talent and potential. Awards are computed as a part of the student’s overall aid package. Prospective students must apply to the university and audition on or before May 1 to be considered for a Performing Arts Scholarship.

Vocal Collective Scholarship
Up to $2,500, for year-long participation in the Vocal Collective, a select, mixed choral ensemble of about 15 singers. For more information, please see “Music Program” section.

Hognander Endowed Scholarship
Gertrude Lund Hognander Scholarship for Leadership in Music and the Performing Arts, established in 2004, is named for Alumna Gertrude Lund Hognander, Class of 1937, and provides funds for a full-time student of any year who participates in music or the performing arts programs at Rockford University, demonstrates personal initiative, leadership and teamwork, and is an engaged and positive contributor to one’s school, community and/or performing arts group.

Margaret E. Everett Music Scholarship
This scholarship was established in 1994 by the estate of Miss Everett, a 1919 graduate of Rockford University, to provide music scholarships for students demonstrating need.

Leonard Bernstein Award
Established by Mr. Bernstein after his 1966 commencement address to the university, the award is presented to the student who has made the greatest contribution to the performing arts at Rockford University, as judged by the performing arts faculty.

Bill Stiles Award
The Bill Stiles award was created in memory of Bill Stiles, a Performing Arts/Acting major and 1989 graduate of Rockford University, who passed away in 2000. The award is the Performing Arts Department’s highest acting honor and is based on a body of work. The award can go to a junior or senior. Recipients’ names are engraved on a plaque which is on display in the Clark Arts Center loggia directly under a photograph of Bill.


Students who receive departmental scholarships and/or awards may be called upon to participate above and beyond normal expectations. These additional duties could include, but are not limited to: additional productions positions, recruiting duties, special projects, etc.


Scheduling conflicts are common in a busy department like ours. Faculty and staff work extremely hard to avoid these conflicts as much as possible. From time to time, however, conflicts will still occur- conflicts between production work and a student rehearsal, or between music ensemble performance and a main stage rehearsal, for instance. Occasionally, faculty or staff may be unaware of the conflict. These can typically be worked out, but only if the student notifies the appropriate faculty members immediately. This is the student’s responsibility. The best way to facilitate this is to mark any and all obligations on the conflict sheet, which is filled out at the beginning of the production and given to the Stage Manager. Do NOT wait until the last minute to tell the Theatre Arts or Music supervisor of the conflict; bring this to the attention of the appropriate faculty members as soon as you are aware of the problem. Failure to do so may result in a failed class, a lowered grade, or withdrawal of audition privileges for a semester.

In order to reduce the possibility of conflicts, students and faculty involved in independent performance projects should consult the Performing Arts Department calendar when scheduling rehearsals and performances. In both scheduling and use of spaces, main stage productions take precedence over student activities, independent performance projects, and Three-Penny productions.