Departmental mission statement

The Cornell College Department of Theatre and Dance strives to examine the human experience through the study, practice, and production of theatre.

Departmental philosophy

We believe in…

Immersive inquiry

We are a community of scholars and practitioners who believe that immersive engagement in theatre and dance provides the creative artist with the focus required to succeed in this creative economy.  Whether pursuing a life in the profession, or enhancing a life through involvement, we know that deep exploration of art cultivates innovative thinking, reveals our cultural inheritance and tests the creative flexibility necessary to support a life-long capacity to inquire.


We are a community of artists who believe that collaboration is a key component to the integration of knowledge, development of an informed artistic point-of-view and creation of high-quality performances.  Through interdisciplinary connections, we celebrate dance and theatre’s innate ability to cross cultural barriers and thrive in diverse settings.  We know that frequent work with guest artists, as well as opportunities to study in Chicago and New York City, broadens our awareness of artistic, social and cultural possibilities. These collaborative connections also provide a springboard for our emerging professionals to step into internships, apprenticeships and other training and graduate programs.  Ultimately, our focus on connectivity strengthens our understanding of the many modes of perceiving and interacting with the world. 

Creative change

We are a community of artistic innovators, creative leaders, and imaginative problem-solvers.  We believe that active engagement in the study, practice and production of theatre and dance fosters the development of creative change-makers who embrace a civic responsibility to embody society’s questions, reveal possibilities, generate dialogue and provide forum for change.  Whether generating a path of study, approaching a course project, mounting a theatrical  or dance production, or engaging audiences, we frequently reimagine traditions, models, forms and techniques in order to further illuminate the human condition.

Departmental learning outcomes

Intercultural literacy and inquiry

Students will analyze and critique the social and cultural context of historical and contemporary theatrical conventions using a range of scholarly methods.

Knowledge and application

Students will develop an understanding of theatrical expression through creative application of knowledge in the areas of performance, management, directing, research, analysis, design and technology. 


Students will engage in and support the collaborative nature of the production process and evaluate the artistic choices that contribute to the theatrical and dance event.


Students will discover and prepare for the range of theatrical and dance opportunities and challenges that await them beyond their college experience.


Students will embrace partnership, empathy, and professionalism in an effort to promote the individual, civic, and social responsibilities necessary for a fulfilling life.