Student Info: We Know You Wanna Know...
What is life like at the University of North Dakota?
For some of you, the University may seem huge, with nearly 15,000 students and 550 acres of camps, yet to others, this may seem small. No matter what your background, or where you hail from, UND has something for everyone.
About half of the student body is from North Dakota and the other half is made up of students from all 50 states and over 50 other nations. The ratio between male and female students is about even. On campus, there are 15 residence halls and 800 student apartment units, as well as twelve fraternities and six sororities. There are over 230 student organizations at UND as well as an intramural sports program called RecSports.
In addition to UND Theatre, there are a number of cultural offerings on the UND campus. The North Dakota Museum of Art, the official art museum of the state of North Dakota, is located in the heart of campus and offers exhibits throughout the year. The Chester Fritz Auditorium regularly feature theater and concert events. The Ralph Engelstad Arena also occasionally features non-athletic events including concerts. The nearby city-owned Alerus Center hosts several concerts each year as well as other events. In addition to these facilities, the city of Grand Forks is home to other theaters and museums and cultural opportunities, including Fire Hall Theatre, Crimson Creek Players, North Dakota Ballet Company, Grand Forks Symphony Orchestra, Grand Forks Master Chorale and various galleries and performance groups. Each June, the Grand Cities are host to the Grand Cities Art Fest, the community's largest fine arts show, featuring artists from all over the United States.
Each year, UND hosts the University of North Dakota Writers Conference. This is a week long event that brings together prominent American and foreign writers. Past participants have included Truman Capote, Tennessee Williams, Eudora Welty, Tom Wolfe, Allen Ginsberg, Louise Erdrich, Sir Salman Rushdie, and Gary Snyder. A film festival is held in conjunction with the conference.
Grand Forks is very much a college town, and has a lot of opportunities geared towards the UND community. With just under 100,000 residents, Grand Forks still has a small town and personal feel.
What is it like to be a theatre arts student at UND?
The first impression that many people have of UND is that it is large University, but the Department of Theatre Arts is an intimate department, dedicated to maintaining a strong student to instructor ration, and concerned with personalized education.
Our faculty and staff strive to create a nurturing atmosphere while challenging students to develop their talents and further their ambitions. Our students are surrounded by both peers and professors who are constantly performing at the highest possible level of excellence, and our graduates rise to this challenge, and become leaders in their fields.
What type of education does the department offer?
In considering the kind of education we offer, it is important to remember that we are a public university grounded in a strong liberal arts foundation. What that means is while our curricula reflects a commitment to training professional in theatre, we are also dedicated to providing curriculum that imparts general knowledge and develops the student's rational thought and intellectual capabilities.
In most of our curricula, a majority of the coursework is focused in the area of theatre, with the remaining coursework completed in non-theatre areas, most typically in courses offered through the College of Arts and Sciences, and designed to complete a rounded and quality education. This variety expands the opportunities that our students have available to them, and is another important reason why a UND education is exceptional.
What will I do after graduation?
Of all the questions asked, perhaps this one creates the most anxiety for students considering a career in the performing arts. We have all heard the stories of students with theatre degrees who end up waiting tables for a living. While there are certainly no guarantees to be made regarding your ultimate career path, one of the things of which we are certain is that an education from UND provides students with the solid training they will need to be successful in their chosen disciplines.
Recent graduates have pursued additional studies in the finest graduate programs around the world. Theatre graduates are working as performers or behind the scenes with community and professional companies, touring with broadway shows, or working in the arts management industry. It is this well-grounded liberal arts education that makes these opportunities for success and advancement possible.
What additional educational and performance opportunities are available?
Certainly, the training that UND students receive from the faculty is the most important factor in their education, but it is also important to note that there are abundant and rich resources for the performing arts in Grand Forks and at UND.
Within the University alone, we have music, vocal, and opera performance opportuntities, and a variety of student organizations intended to provide advanced co-curricular education opportunities. This means that students at UND have ample opportunity to express themselves through performance.
This is not the extent of the arts offerings in Grand Forks. The community itself boasts more arts and cultural organizations per capita than any other community in the nation. The University creates many partnerships for additional performance and pre-professional training, including Crimson Creek Players, a non-equity professional summer musical troupe that that presents two musicals between June and August (one small, contemporary musical, and one larger production). Crimson has performed shows such as SWEENEY TODD, CHICAGO, BEEHIVE, AND THE WORLD GOES ROUND, JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR, SWEET CHARITY, CANDIDE, THE GREAT AMERICAN TRAILER PARK MUSICAL, BAT BOY THE MUSICAL, and HAIR. In addition to performance opportunitites, Crimson Creek often has production staff opportunities available, providing practicum experience in the performing arts. Additionally, the community has a pre-professional ballet company, a symphony, a master chorale, and a variety of other opportunities to get involved.
What is campus life like at UND?
The campus stretches roughly one and half miles from east to west and is divided by the meandering English Coulee. The UND Department of Theatre Arts resides in the Central Campus, the oldest and most scenic part of the University. This area is home to most academic buildings on campus. At the heart of campus sits the Chester Fritz Library, the largest library in North Dakota.
Behind the library is the park-like setting of the central campus mall. The mall includes several statues and is a popular place for students to study. The mall is lined with historic buildings including Merrifield Hall, Twamley Hall, Babcock Hall, Montgomery Hall, and the old Carnegie Library. The location of the first building on campus, Old Main, is marked with Old Main Memorial Plaza and the eternal flame of the Old Main Memorial Sphere.
The English Coulee flows along the western edge of the central campus area, next to Burtness Theatre and the UND Theatre's main building, Chandler Hall, and on the western bank of the Coulee sits the Chester Fritz Auditorium and the Hughes Fine Arts Center. The historic 1907 Adelphi Fountain is located next to the coulee as is the new Spiritual Center.
Students have access to both the University's free bus system as well as the Grand Forks buses, to move between campus and the rest of the community. This makes navigating campus a very simple matter, and also makes it possible for students to travel off campus without a car. University buses service all of the campus locations, and run very frequently throughout the day. With a number of overlapping routes and a frequent timetable, students rarely have to wait longer than five to ten minutes for a bus. UND students also get discounted cab fares through the UND Cab Crawler program.
There is no specific residence hall where theatre students are required to live. Many choose to live in the Central Campus neighborhood in the campus housing complex. These residences offer easy access to the classes and other campus facilities.
Grand Forks has a police departments and a county sherrif's deprtment, and UND maintains it's own police force to ensure safety on campus. Many services exist on campus, such as "Smart Travel" (providing well-lighted routes around campus), and a "Blue Light" security system, with several emergency phones positioned around campus, that make the campus safe to travel at all hours. Private escorts are also available from campus police.
Downtown Grand Forks offers a vibrant cultural community. Grand Forks has almost 30 city parks, which very much define its character. Students enjoy canoeing, biking, hiking or camping at Turtle River State Park, 20 miles west of town, exploring the tens of miles of walking and scenic biking trails, spending time on the Greenway along the Red River of the North, playing Frisbee Golf at Lincoln Park,, or just strolling through downtown. Very much a classic college town, the University and the Grand Forks community coexist and enhance one another beautifully.
How easy is it for you to make audition arrangements?
Audition questions are important factors in evaluating how a school works with and values its students. The audition/interview process is an interactive one; while we are trying to learn about you, you are learning about us. Whenever possible, go to the campus for the audition and experience this!
How does the application process at UND work?
First, we are a University program. Therefore, academics play an important role in the evaluation of the students who apply for admission. Every applicant must meet minimum academic criteria in order to be considered for admission. Visit UND Admissions for more information.
Questions? Contact us at email@example.com for answers!
Any other questions? Call Kathleen McLennan, Chair, at 701-777-2871.