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University Update - Fall 2020

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From LA to London
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New Screen Acting Degree Spans the Globe<\/h3>","

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Oklahoma City University, in partnership with the Academy of Live and Recorded Arts, will offer a new master’s degree in screen acting in two of the world’s entertainment capitals beginning in January. <\/p>\r\n

The Master of Fine Arts in Screen Acting is a highly specialized two-year program that will be taught in Los Angeles and London. The program starts with hands-on learning in Los Angeles’ historic Culver City, complete with internships at LA film studios. During the second year of the program, students will study in London at the Academy of Live and Recorded Arts. \r\n<\/p>\r\n

Master class faculty members include Tony and Emmy Award-winning actress Kristin Chenoweth (BM Musical Theatre ’91, MM ’93, HDHL ’13), who will conduct master classes at least once a year for OCU MFA students in LA. The OCU School of Theatre’s Los Angeles location is near Amazon Studios, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Apple+ Studios, HBO Studios, Jesse James Films, and others. \r\n<\/p>\r\n

The program will prepare graduates to work professionally in film, television, and other recorded media venues. \r\n<\/p>\r\n

“Students will learn how to develop, pitch, and produce their own content,” said OCU School of Theatre Dean Mark Parker. “The program will offer invaluable experience working alongside, and networking with, actors, directors, casting directors, agents, and producers in both LA and London.” \r\n<\/p>\r\n

Along with the foundational study of acting technique while studying in LA, students will engage in multiple digital media projects of their own, a range of workshops and events with industry professionals, and a research project on an aspect of screen history or film\/TV theory. Students also will screen a film project and participate in a pitching session to industry professionals. In London, students will study specific technical skills in voice, movement, stage combat, and improvisation. The program culminates with a thesis production project. \r\n<\/p>\r\n

For more information, contact [email protected]<\/a> or visit okcu.edu\/mfa-screen-acting<\/a>.\r\n<\/p>\r\n

Masterclass with a Star<\/h4>\r\n

Kristin Chenoweth Zooms with OCU music students.<\/figcaption><\/figure>\r\n

Take it from a Broadway star—sometimes you gotta improvise. Chenoweth gave two masterclasses during the spring semester for OCU students via the Zoom platform while sheltering in place in her Manhattan home.\r\n<\/p>\r\n

Chenoweth accepted an appointment as artist-in-residence at her alma mater in early March, weeks before the pandemic moved all classes online. She agreed to be in residence at the Wanda L. Bass School of Music at least once a semester, working with students in masterclasses, lessons, and workshops and leading ongoing conversations on the business of Broadway and Hollywood. Even in the midst of the pandemic, Chenoweth kept one of Broadway’s most enduring ideals: The show must go on.\r\n<\/p>\r\n

“What a wonderful session and what a kind and generous heart,” Mark Parker, dean of the Bass School of Music, said after the first session. “Kristin Chenoweth was real, she was encouraging, motivating, and most of all, she showed all 44 of us on this call that she is committed to these students for the long haul.” <\/p>","

Nursing School Donates PPE to Local Hospitals<\/h3>","

Soon after the pandemic began, Oklahoma City University answered the call to support the metro area’s medical community by donating critical personal protective equipment to SSM Health St. Anthony and INTEGRIS in response to increased needs prompted by COVID-19. <\/p>\r\n

The Kramer School of Nursing donated 8,375 gloves as well as hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes to St. Anthony for health care professionals treating patients on the front lines of the pandemic. The Physician Assistant program donated an additional 2,000 gloves and 150 masks.\r\n<\/p>\r\n

The nursing school also donated supplies to INTEGRIS including gloves, hand sanitizer, and bleach wipes.\r\n<\/p>\r\n

“After our students transitioned to online learning last spring, we saw the opportunity to give back with PPE we knew was much needed,” said Lois Salmeron, dean of the Kramer School of Nursing. “It’s an opportunity not only for our school and our students to pay it forward to the profession they will soon enter, but also for us to demonstrate the value of servant-leadership we promote among all OCU Stars.”<\/p>","

Serving the Community<\/h3>","

Dexter Nelson<\/figcaption><\/figure>\r\n

Oklahoma City University Police Chief Dexter Nelson was appointed to Mayor David Holt’s (JD ’09) Law Enforcement Policy Task Force, which was created in response to community concerns about law enforcement policies.<\/p>\r\n

The task force will revisit and revise the Oklahoma City Police Department’s de-escalation policy as well as the structure in place designed to provide credible and independent accountability back to the community, a responsibility currently belonging to the police department’s Citizens Advisory Board.\r\n<\/p>\r\n

According to the city, the task force may also consider other policies if they are necessary to accomplish improvement in the two priority areas. The task force will recommend changes to the city council and city manager for potential adoption.<\/p>","

Dean Hired for Law Recruitment<\/h3>","

Michelle Gunter was appointed the new assistant dean of admissions for the OCU School of Law. Gunter filled the position left vacant upon the retirement of Associate Dean Laurie Jones.<\/p>\r\n

“We are very excited to welcome Michelle Gunter,” Dean Jim Roth said. “Her experience in recruiting will be the perfect continuation of the work of Dean of Admissions Laurie Jones. Dean Jones has been instrumental in growing our law school with her passion for bringing in a talented and diverse student body, and we know Dean Gunter will build upon the foundation she has laid. I look forward to the next class of bright law school students who will become a part of our OCU Law community.”\r\n<\/p>\r\n

Gunter began her career in higher education at Spelman College as a member of the housing and residence life staff, moving next to student affairs at Paul Quinn College. Prior to joining the staff of University of North Carolina School of Law, Gunter served as an attorney for survivors of sexual assault with Lone Star Legal Aid and as an admissions recruiter for Texas A&M University School of Law. \r\n<\/p>\r\n

“I’m looking forward to working with Dean Roth and the exceptional team at OCU Law,” said Gunter. “The school truly grows the next generation of leaders, and I’m proud to have a part in that process.”\r\n<\/p>","

Online Work Leads to Theatrical Innovation<\/h3>","

Each year, Oklahoma City University awards a grant to facilitate Creative Activity, Inquiry, Research, and Scholarship and promote “critical thinking, creativity, and the ability to think holistically and across disciplines of study.” Associate professor Kate Brennan and undergraduate student Avery Bruce proved to be the perfect pair to receive the grant—despite having to collaborate remotely in a field where doing so is an extreme challenge.<\/p>\r\n

“Across disciplines of study” doesn’t begin to describe Brennan’s and Bruce’s “Illuminate” project. The endeavor is categorized as a myriodrama, a collection of scenes and songs that can be assembled in any order, with any number of ensemble members, and shared in any medium. “Illuminate” \r\n<\/p>\r\n

is the third installment of the overall work, The Infinity Trilogy.\r\n<\/p>\r\n

“Each scene and song operate as a unique ‘card,’” Brennan explained. “The deck can be dealt in any order, in any amount.”\r\n<\/p>\r\n

The artists worked with Ignition Arts, a nonprofit arts organization that encourages “collaboration across all genres of art and change-making.” Brennan and Bruce worked with Ignition Arts Executive Director and former head of OCU’s Bachelor of Arts in Theatre and Performance Gregory DeCandia to create the new type of performance format.\r\n<\/p>\r\n

“We were scheduled to develop ‘Illuminate’ with Ignition Arts at Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma in May,” Brennan said. “When the pandemic shuttered theaters, Ignition Arts moved the development online to keep everyone safe. In doing so, we created not only a new theatre piece but a new way of creating a theatrical piece.”\r\n<\/p>\r\n

Bruce said: “‘Illuminate’ is a story where a linear progression of time is not important, but rather time—future, past, present—can be interwoven to present a universal message that illuminates important themes in all of our lives.”\r\n<\/p>\r\n

To learn more about myriodrama and preview the project, visit ignitionarts.org\/illuminate.<\/p>"]

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