UNCSA School of Design and Production announces new grad program

The top-ranked School of Design and Production (D&P) at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts announces a new three-year graduate program in Production and Project Management (PPM) to begin enrollment for Fall 2018.

“This is a transformational M.F.A. program feeding the entertainment industry with project managers,” says Dean Michael J. Kelley, an Emmy award-winning alumnus who returned to UNCSA after a career that includes a stint as senior producer for Walt Disney Imagineering. “There is no other graduate program in the country that trains inspired leaders who will drive innovation in both non-profit and for-profit creative endeavors.”

Mihcael J. Kelley

D&P Dean Michael J. Kelley

The program, Kelley says, will include general business management and leadership training, along with creative collaboration on UNCSA stage productions in theatre, dance, classical music, and opera and in-class projects with top creative organizations.

“These immersive projects will provide the invaluable opportunity for students to apply people, project and production management skills within arts and entertainment organizations,” he says.

Management courses will include organizational behavior, accounting, human resources, marketing, negotiation and law and the arts. Leadership training will focus on strategic planning, innovation and creativity, and entrepreneurship and intrapreneurship.

White House crew

Students and faculty from the School of Design and Production helped create a Halloween-themed event at the White House in October 2016.

Eric Notkke, who joins UNCSA as assistant director of the PPM program, says the course will help professionals with career transitions. “Our ideal candidate has two to four years’ experience in the industry and wants to move up or branch out in their career,” says Nottke, who brings 25 years of experience, most recently as Director of Production at Williamstown Theatre Festival.

Nottke has worked with many young professionals who have the talent, drive and passion to advance in their careers, but lack training in business management and leadership. “There is a gap in their education, and this program is designed to fill that gap,” he says. “The entertainment industry needs graduates with the training that our PPM program will provide.”

UNCSA will most likely accept some candidates who are fresh from undergraduate degrees, Nottke says. “We would not want to discourage extremely qualified candidates who will graduate this Spring.”

The entertainment industry needs graduates with the training that our PPM program will provide.

Eric Nottke, assistant director of the PPM program

Kelley said UNCSA is in the final stages of hiring a director for the graduate program, with an announcement expected in the first quarter of 2018. “We have a number of highly qualified candidates whose experience will compliment Eric’s expertise,” Kelley says.

Additional information and applications are available online.  

The School of Design and Production is ranked second in the country by OnStage blog, a leading trade publication for theatre reviews and news. OnStage released its ranking of “the Top 10 BFA Theatre Design & Tech Programs in the Country for 2017-18” on Sept. 1.

D&P currently enrolls 231 students in nine undergraduate programs (Costume Design and Technology, Lighting, Scene Design, Scene Painting, Scene Technology, Sound Design, Stage Management, Stage Properties, and Wig and Makeup Design); 49 students in nine graduate programs (Costume Design, Costume Technology, Scenic Art, Scene Design, Sound Design, Stage Automation, Stage Properties, Technical Direction, and Wig and Makeup Design); and 39 students in its high school Visual Arts Program.

by Lauren Whitaker

December 11, 2017