A&E — 06 October 2014
Shayla Gasca
STAFF WRITER

On Sept. 25, the green room was filled with curious students for the Theater Arts Advising Night in the 4000 building. The event had counselor Joel Gagnon and professor Titian Lish speak to help guide students through the theater arts program. They also held private, one-on-one advising after the speakers.

Lish is a professor in the theater arts who holds a bachelor’s in acting and a master’s in drama. “I had floated the idea of doing something where he (Joel Gagnon) would come and talk about what students need to know about the college,” Lish said, “and I could talk about what the students needed to know about the theater arts program and we could sort of get out to more students in sort of one shot.”

The main reason Lish created this event was that since she has started working in Las Positas College last year, there has been confusion and frustration among students on how to proceed with their schooling. How long it would take to transfer through the system here, in both the department and the college, has been difficult for students to work out. “The program wants to provide a place for students to learn more about what their requirements are,” Lish said.

Lish also decided to create the Theater Arts Advising Night for students who want to major in theater arts. “We are here to guide them through and leave it up for them to figure it (their major) out.” She also said they just “want the students to feel supported by the theater program, to feel like they have their educational interest in mind.”

While counselor Joel Gagnon explained what classes students need to take in order to transfer into any theater arts major, he showed an example of a Student Educational Plan (SEP) for a full-time student transferring in the spring. He had also explained that it would take approximately two and a half years as a full-time student to complete the SEP with summer classes. Lish spoke about which classes to take for the program and what each class is like. They both answered questions from curious students.

This event was not only for students who are interested in any theatre major but also for students who are undeclared. Said Lish: “It’s OK to change your major but I think you should have a goal in mind at some point, so you feel like you’re working towards something.” She really encouraged students who are undeclared to check out the advising night.

 “It’s a place where they (students in the theater program) felt comfortable and felt fun.”  She also listed at least 25 special advantages that theater major gives students, including: oral communication skills, creative problem solving abilities, motivation and commitment, willingness to work cooperatively, ability to work independently, self-confidence and much more.

When Lish, Gagnon and the Theater Arts Club came together to create this advising night they wanted to explain to students how to organize their time while in the program. “It sort of became something we know students can count on from the theater program,” Lish said.  They wanted the students to leave with a clear understanding of what the expectations were.

Lish said she has had a lot of students asking if another advising night will be offered in the spring, since students are currently busy with rehearsals or classes. She and Gagnon aren’t sure yet if a spring advising night will happen, but hope that either every semester or every year they could offer the advising night again.

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