Columbia Theater Chair to Step Down, Department Combining With Dance

Columbia Theater Chair to Step Down, Department Combining With Dance

In a letter to faculty and staff, Columbia College Chicago has announced that Theater Department Chair John Green will be stepping down at the end of the summer, and the administrative staffs of the Theater and Dance departments will be combining. Green has been chair since 2009—when long-time chair Sheldon Patinkin retired from the post—and has been responsible for a shift in focus for the department towards devised and international theater. He will remain with the institution as a faculty member, focusing on the new MFA program in Devised Performance Practice.
The news comes on the heels of 15 college layoffs in late may, including three Theater Department staffers, and the announcement that Mark Kelly—a vice president and Columbia’s longest-serving administrator—is departing after 32 years to head up the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events for the City of Chicago.

Budget issues generated by low enrollment and the inability of the State of Illinois to fund MAP grants have led to massive restructuring at the 10,000 student arts-focused college. The Theater Department—often touted as the largest in the world at 900 students—has regularly bucked the trend and increased enrollment year-over-year. Many departments at Columbia restructured recently, but the merger of Dance and Theater will be the largest. The two degree programs will remain distinct, but will be administered jointly under the direction of Peter Carpenter, currently the interim chair of the Dance Department.

A request for comment was sent to the Dean of The School of the Fine and Performing Arts and The Provost. At this time neither have responded. 

Editor’s Note: The author of this article is a former employee of Columbia College Chicago

About author

Jason Epperson

Jason is a producer, manager, and designer with 17 years of experience in Chicago, New York, and in the touring market. In 2015, he founded Lotus Theatricals - the publisher of Performink, and an independent commercial producing company - with Abigail Trabue.


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