UNCSA School of Design and Production Announces New Graduate Program in Production and Project Management

by Michael Eddy
In October 2016, the School of Design and Production at UNCSA was invited to help create a themed Halloween event at the White House.
In October 2016, the School of Design and Production at UNCSA was invited to help create a themed Halloween event at the White House.

The School of Design and Production (D&P) at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA) 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 nonprofit and for-profit creative endeavors.”

The program, Kelley says, will include general business management and leadership training, along with creative collaboration on UNCSA stage productions in theater, 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.

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 in Massachusetts.

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.”

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 complement Eric’s expertise,” Kelley says.

Additional information and applications are available online at http://www.uncsa.edu/ppm.

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.

The University of North Carolina School of the Arts is America’s first state-supported arts school, a unique stand-alone public university of arts conservatories. With a high school component, UNCSA is a degree-granting institution that trains young people of talent in dance, design and production, drama, filmmaking, and music. Established by the N.C. General Assembly in 1963, the School of the Arts opened in Winston-Salem (“The City of Arts and Innovation”) in 1965 and became part of the University of North Carolina system when it was formed in 1972.

Further information from UNSCA: www.uncsa.edu.