I am writing today with a heavy heart. I’m sure that many of you reading this have heard about the future changes that Saint Mary’s University has announced for the university’s academic portfolio. These changes are substantial, and involve the future discontinuation of many of the majors housed within the the School of Arts & Humanities.  Follow this link to the SMUMN news release.
MCA is an affiliate program of Saint Mary’s, meaning that we have special status adjacent to the university and, in general, are responsible for raising our own funds/revenues and maintaining our own operating budget. This special status means that we were excluded from this round of changes to the academic portfolio at the university.
Our “special status” does not lessen the sting that we feel at these program losses, which of course impact many of our beloved colleagues as well as our students and alumni. I encourage you all to take time to process your emotions and check-in on friends and colleagues who may be impacted by this news. Read my official statement below:


Dear MCA Community:

As I am sure you have heard and read, Saint Mary’s University announced future changes to its academic portfolio. I say future as I understand they announced the phasing-out of a number of majors over the next several years. Among the majors that will be phased out over time are music, theater and visual art.

I have heard questions about what this means for the MCA. The answer is very little. As I shared last week, MCA’s programs and operations were not directly impacted by these changes and, for the next year, we will continue on as normal. We are an affiliate program of the university, and while we do work closely with academic departments, we operate largely independently from them. So, the curricular changes may impact the enrollments in certain MCA courses in future years, but there will also be an opportunity to further engage Saint Mary’s students  and our community students in new extracurricular activities, yet to be determined. We will continue our focus and our work and will continue to partner with other Saint Mary’s departments to serve our students and our broader community.  

As for future plans, work will begin this summer to determine how best to serve students wanting to participate in the arts and how arts will be expressed on and off campus. MCA will be engaged in this planning process, and we will continue, as we have done, to work closely with university leadership.  

If you have any questions about our ongoing work at MCA, please feel free to reach out to me (bplunger@smumn.edu).  If you have questions regarding the changes to academic programs, I recommend you contact Dr. Matthew Gerlach at mgerlach@smumn.edu.  He is the interim provost beginning June 1, 2022.


Brady Plunger

Managing Director

Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts, an affiliate program of Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota