In 2006, the University of Texas at Tyler dropped their theater degree causing students to change their minds about their futures. This not only affects the UT-Tyler students, but also the TJC students.
This semester, TJC has 19 theater majors. Dr. David Crawford speculates that about 10 of these will be transferring next semester.
“I would probably stay around if UT [-Tyler] had a theater major, it would just depend on how good the program was,” TJC student Stormy Philpot said.
Some students end up dropping their associates degree from TJC because they have nowhere to transfer that is close. Also, they may not have the money it takes to receive a B.A. from another four-year university because of the expense of relocating and tuition.
“Getting your bachelor’s degree is very important,” said Crawford. “Your experience in college is very significant to casting agents.”
Over the years, Crawford has received his Associate of Arts at TJC, Bachelor of Science at North Texas State University, Master of Arts at Stephen F. Austin and Doctor of Philosophy at Texas Tech University. He now teaches six theater and speech classes at TJC and has been a professor for 33 years.
“Never look for opportunities to fail. Always look for opportunities to succeed. Although these schools are expensive, if you really want a degree, nothing should stop you,” Crawford said.
Some of the more popular schools for theater majors to attend are Texas State University, Brown University, Oklahoma City University and University of North Texas.
“I believe there will be missed opportunities if UT-Tyler never allows a B.A. in theater again, but I think eventually they will open it back up,” Crawford said.
One UT-Tyler student who changed her major due to the theater degree not being available is Lauren Confer. She is now majoring in psychology.
“When I first came to UT [-Tyler], I took a lot of theater classes, and my love for it grew. I decided to major in theater, only to be told they only offered a minor,” said Confer.
“Honestly, I believe that it would benefit UT [-Tyler] to reopen their theater degree again,” said Lindsay Laperriere, a former TJC student.
Laperriere now takes classes at UT-Tyler but is transferring to Texas State to receive a B.A. in musical theater.