USM Earns National Association of Schools of Dance Reaccreditation
Fri, 12/01/2023 - 08:37am | By: Ivonne Kawas
The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) has earned reaccreditation as an institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Dance (NASD). USM’s Dance program, housed in the School of Performing and Visual Arts, offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Dance with emphasis areas in Dance Education and Performance and Choreography.
NASD has established national standards for dance programs with 84 accredited institutional members. This reaccreditation is a testament to the quality of USM’s dance program and ensures it remains positioned as one of the top programs in the country.
Brianna Jahn, dance program coordinator and assistant professor of dance,
emphasizes the significance of NASD accreditation and its benefits for students, stating, “Graduating from a nationally accredited institution by NASD signals to future employers and graduate study programs that their BFA education received was quality, well-rounded, and included access to all elements needed to succeed professionally, referencing standards set by experts in the field.”
Due to the extensive review process required to be able to meet the NASD standards, Jahn notes that this renewal demonstrates USM’s unwavering commitment to advancing the program.
“Thanks to this process, we are able to prepare and implement a high-quality curriculum,” said Jahn. “By looking at our program in a wholistic way, dance faculty can see that we have all the resources necessary to support student growth and advocate effectively for what else we may need.”
Among the accreditation benefits for its members, NASD facilitates collaboration with other institutions, organizations, and professionals in the field of dance.
“As the institutional representative, I attend NASD’s annual meeting and network with dance representatives from other universities and professional schools of dance,” said Jahn. “This provides me with the opportunity to stay on top of current trends in education and methods for addressing the ever-evolving professional world of dance.”
“Additionally, as an accredited member institution, USM has voting power at this meeting,” adds Jahn. “This is important as we are able to provide feedback on revisions to the handbook of standards, so they can evolve and respond to shifts in the profession as well.”
To maintain accreditation, USM undergoes a rigorous review process every 10 years. This involves a detailed self-study analysis of the program including planning for the future, a site visit and written report from highly qualified dance educators, and a decision on accreditation renewal through the NASD national commission. Some of areas analyzed include student learning outcomes and competencies, facilities, faculty and production support, guest artists, professional development, research, and current technologies.
Dr. Chris Winstead, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, praises program leadership, faculty, and staff for their efforts in promoting excellence in dance.
“During the NASD site visit, dance faculty, staff, and administrators were recognized for their exemplary leadership,” said Dr. Winstead. “This recognition not only validates their efforts and dedication to students but also highlights the success of the dance programming on campus.”’
Learn more about USM’s Dance program.