University of Hartford
The Hartt School
Introduction to the Identity Process
Faculty Meeting: Tuesday November 17, 2009
Overview: The purpose of this document is to explain the purpose for a
strategic planning process at The Hartt School, identity critical questions for
this process, and to enable the Hartt community time to reflect on this
strategic opportunity in preparation for our upcoming discussions.
Background: The Hartt School will be 90 years old in 2010. It has been 4
years since the completion of last Hartt School strategic planning. The
result of that previous effort is generally believed to have been the
completion Mort and Ida Handel Performing Arts Center in 2008 which has
provided a much welcomed rehearsal home for the newly created Theatre
and Dance Divisions. With the creation of a college division Theater
Division in 1996 and Dance Division in 1998, The Hartt School has been
transformed from a college of music to a college of the performing arts.
At this stage in time, there are critical questions (page 2), which The Hartt
School needs to answer in order to thrive. The proposed Identity Process
will be designed to answer these questions and build consensus around an
exciting future for the college and the University of Hartford.
Institutional Context: Nationally, there are several institutions of higher
education that contain
at least all three performing arts divisions (i.e. dance, music, and theatre)
under one collegiate unit as at UHA. They range from independent schools
(Boston Conservatory, Juilliard, Cal Arts, etc.) to colleges within public or
private Universities (NYU, Purchase College, Univ. of Michigan, etc.). One
goal of this identity process is to discover what makes The Hartt School
unique within this universe of educational options.
Current Thinking: The University of Hartford maintains a list of peer
institutions that is used for comparative analysis, however this list often
differs from the list the individual colleges use to compare themselves
within their fields. So it is within The Hartt School itself, where individual
divisions or programs compare themselves with programs whose
institutional context is very different.
One result of this breath of comparisons just within Hartt is a lack of focus.
We end up ‘competing’ for every student and with every school or program
that might be right for them and offer various ‘complete educational
experiences’. This situation pulls at our resources and reinforces a “silo”
system where dance students rarely interact with music students or theatre
with dance, let alone with the rest of the university.
Additionally, there is little embrace of the positive leverage that being part
of the University of Hartford and the Greater Hartford community provides
the Hartt School in attracting the right students to all of our divisions.
List of Critical Issues/Questions
• What is The Hartt School’s ideal role in fueling artistic creativity
throughout the entire University of Hartford and the Greater
Hartford community? How can and how should the Hartt School
best relate to and interact with its larger University community?
• What is the ideal relationship between the college and community
divisions within the Hartt School? Is performing arts education in
“silos” the best way for us to prepare 21st Century professionals?
• What is right balance of resources and opportunities for students and
faculty throughout the college?
• How might technology, global travel, arts advocacy, inter-
disciplinary collaboration, and entrepreneurism play a role in the
curriculum for all Hartt students?
• How might our tuition assistance program best reflect our values,
support the demonstrated need of our students, while partnering
fairly and transparently with the University? Is scholarship merit
based, based on the curricular needs of the college, and/or based on
the student’s financial need?
• To what extent can our academic policies encourage faculty to
expect students to reach high academic, artistic, professional
standards in all courses of studies?
• What do our values and strengths say about the number and type of
degree programs we should offer? What do they say about the size
and quality of school we can and must be?
• If we are to grow (i.e. programs, people, etc.), what disciplined
process should be in place to manage and integrate that growth?
What are we going to stop doing to enable the appropriate focus on
• How can The Hartt School lead an effort in the field to design a
curriculum that will produce the exemplary 21st century performing
• Space: current issues in the Fuller Center (i.e. need practice rooms,
large ensemble rehearsals, appropriate recording studio, and lockers
for large instruments); forthcoming issues at the PAC depending on
desired growth patterns.
• No maintenance and replacement schedule or sufficient security plan
for musical instruments, stage apparatus, A/V equipment,
computers, or other large capital assets critical to instruction.
• Providing informed, thoughtful, and appropriate student advising for
all Hartt students.
• Engaging our adjunct faculty more deeply in the institution to
• Setting mutually agreed upon enrollment targets while attracting the
“right” Hartt students (including “special cases” or “endangered
areas”) given the competitive tuition assistance situation in the field
and our current resources.
• How do we balance current educational needs and growth potential
in the PAC?
• How do we find mutually beneficial means of bringing professional
teachers, artists, and repertoire into contact with our students'
• How might we evaluate our current list of music-related degree
programs in light of our identity, focus, uniqueness, and brand?
• How do we best adapt and respond to the rapidly changing musical
culture, in which traditional lines between genres such as classical,
jazz and popular are often blurred?
• Do we find a mutually beneficial connection for the Hartt Theatre
Division, University Players, and the Department of English’s
• Do we grow into playwriting and directing for Musical Theatre? To
what extent should and can we address film acting in the program?
The Hartt School
University of Hartford
• To clarify the core values, culture, and unique educational aspects of
studying at University of Hartford’s Hartt School.
• To align what we do and how we do it with this identity.
• To mobilize our faculty, alumni, Board, staff, and friends to enable Hartt
to meet the evolving needs in the performing arts field.
We expect this outcome will reflect our distinguished history, our strengths as the
University of Hartford, and our unique vision of the essential elements to a strong
21st century performing arts education.
Doing so will enable us
• To attract more of the “right” students for Hartt,
• To better prepare our students to contribute to the profession and society
• To raise our visibility nationally and internationally,
• To align our history with our future generating excitement amongst our
many constituents as well as unparalleled success in fund development and
in building a network for alumni to want to be engaged with their
Ideally, this process will yield a shared vision for what The Hartt School at the
University of Hartford is as well as identity key steps we can implement over a
three-five period that will demonstrate the depth of our commitment to that vision
and guide our work as faculty and staff moving forward.
This process will be remembered as being
• Internally inclusive: Faculty, alumni, students, staff, board, University of
• Externally Inclusive: Greater Hartford artistic and civic community
members, and a representative group of outside arts leaders including;
professional organizations of dance, theatre, and music; other higher
education institutions, the profession including Arts Policy makers and
• Informed by the University’s Academic Strategic Plan and Capital Plan
• Diverse in the modes of engagements: focus groups, retreats, online
surveys, “several touch-base points”
1. Fall 2009: ROUND I
a. Clarify the purpose and goals for the process.
b. Identity key questions/issues that must be answered
c. Complete an outline for the process
d. Identity all stakeholders that must be involved
2. Winter 2010: ROUND 1I:
a. Form Hartt Identity Committee
b. Engage a consultant to facilitate process
c. Gather key data on The Hartt School (trends, summary of
offerings, etc.) creating a “snapshot” of the present state of
The Hartt School
d. Gather key field data (trends, emerging opportunities,
historical shifts in performing arts education)
e. Identity current perceptions (values, key words that would
describe Hartt and its colleague institutions)
3. Spring-early summer 2010 ROUND III
a. Draft initial reactions to data and SWOT analysis
b. Create emerging strategic direction
4. Summer-Fall 2011 ROUND IV
a. Test whether key stakeholders feel the emerging direction is
“right” (faculty, staff, board, alumni, Deans, Provost,
b. Regroup if necessary and repeat Round II
5. Winter 2011 ROUND V
a. If sufficiently supported, begin developing 3-5yr
b. Cultivate sources of funding support to “jump start”
c. Roll out new Strategic Plan