RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Today’s college students have a variety of interests, which is why William Peace University will soon have a degree program catered specifically to them.
As students rehearsed for an upcoming musical at WPU, you might think they’re only theatre majors. But what if they’re also interested in game design or English?
WPU is creating a new program that will allow students to explore a variety of interests under the same Interdisciplinary Art Program also known as an IDA Degree.
“We are one of the few, I think there’s only about a dozen [universities] in the nation that have the program that’s called that,” said Matt Hodge, WPU assistant program director for the Interdisciplinary Arts Program. “And so, we’re really excited about that. It does make us very current and very competitive.”
The IDA degree will replace the University’s Bachelor of Fine Arts, theatre, musical theatre and arts administration degrees.
“So a given class might count for, let’s say, a Comm major, and an English minor and an SGD major because those programs happen to draw from common courses. And now a student can use the same course for all three,” said Wade Newhouse, WPU program director for the Interdisciplinary Arts Program.
“That’s partially why students are now going to have so much freedom to build their own career because we can let them pick a course that the person next to them might never have chosen,” said Newhouse.
The degree was created at WPU after high school students expressed interest in more than one major.
“You’re not having to double major in a bunch of things, it can be one program that highlights all of it. And it becomes a program that reflects your unique perspective of skills,” said Hodge.
Some courses will be taught by people who are in the career field, making it feel more like on the job experience for students rather than studying in a classroom.
“Students can pick and choose who they want to work with. It doesn’t have to be the faculty, it definitely doesn’t have to be the full-time faculty. It can be the artist of the day, who has a great idea. And we can put them in here with four or five students and give them class credit for that,” said Newhouse.
“With this program, I can look into different programs and not have double the work, which I think is going to be a huge thing for a lot of people,” said WPU Bachelor of Fine Arts sophomore, Daisy Byungura.
WPU is known for having a community atmosphere. With the university expanding student opportunities like adding this new degree, CBS 17 is told it’s pushing students to go confidently beyond just this community.
“I feel like there’ll be more opportunities and better opportunities when I get to work with people outside of peace,” said WPU Bachelor of Fine Arts freshman, Caden Connor.
“You’re graduating with a more diverse resume, network connections and it lives up to this immersive learning spirit that Peace is dedicated to. Your education is going to be on the ground, not just in the classroom, but out in the city,” said Hodge.
The Interdisciplinary Arts Degree at WPU will be available for all current and incoming students in the fall of 2024.