The Performing and Visual Arts Design and Technology major

Sophia Kumar


The Kaleidoscope is now home to Ursinus’ new Performing and Visual Arts Design and Technology major! “The Performing and Visual Arts Design and Technology major invites students to take risks, ask questions, and develop sophisticated interpretative, artistic, and practical skills with which they may have had little experience. The major sets students up for success in a broad range of fields and gives students the flexibility to continue to explore post-graduation.” says Professor Shannnon Zura, the PVDT coordinator. Students pursuing the PVDT major take a variety of courses in theater, dance, music, media and communications- the list goes on!

     Professor Zura is an associate professor of theater and dance in design in technology. Coming from a background in light, sound, and scenic design, she saw the strong desire for a major geared towards understanding and creating visual and performing art. 

      “Immediately when I got here it was apparent that there were people that were interested in design and technology so I started teaching the classes and thinking about other ways to support other students who might be interested in design” says Professor Zura. 

After seeing the amount of people interested in these classes, it was clear to the theater department that there was a desire for a new major where students explore creation, designing, critical thinking, and artistic interpretation skills in areas of performing and visual arts that the student is interested in. 

     “It grew very quickly! I just started the scholarship in the fall, the first time it was advertised and I had six applicants … so I think people are interested in pursuing design because if you think about it, design is not just limited to theater and dance.” Zura explained. 

      This program is growing fast and exciting changes are coming that will greatly enhance the PVDT major experience! The PVDT major helps students become innovators, leaders, creators, and problem solvers- which are skills that are applicable to a wide range of careers. 

       “Knowing how to look at something and realize it can be something else [is] not a skill that normal everyday people have. That’s a skill that’s learned as a designer, being able to look at something and saying this could easily become something else. Apple says people don’t know what they want until you put it in their hands so everything they designed they thought about the user interface, what does it mean when you touch the screen, what is the outside of the phone look like, what’s the feeling, the touch, the texture. All that’s designed. Those are the people that come to these kinds of programs.” exclaimed Zura.  

     From streaming services to independent films, designers are needed. PVDT is a unique major on campus as it takes from many disciplines to create a personally catered experience for the student. 

      “I think here’s what’s important to know about PVDT. It is housed obviously over here in the theater department, I’m the coordinator of it, but it would not exist without computer science, without music, without art, without MCS, all of those programs contribute to PVDT.”  Zura explained. 

The Performing and Visual Arts Design and Technology major takes classes from across disciplines to form well rounded critical thinkers with a passion for creation. Support the PVDT majors on campus by seeing the theater and dance shows on campus! While you watch, think about the thought and effort put into the set, the lighting, and the sound. These things are vitally important to the production of art and wouldn’t happen without the talent and hard work of professors and students that are dedicated to design!