Queensborough Only School in the U.S. to Receive Accreditation this Year from the National Association of Schools of Dance NASD

Published: October 01, 2019

Also, Queensborough is the third community college in the nation to ever be accredited by NASD.

The Accreditation process is rigorous; it not only examines everything the dance program offers--Dance as a major, the A.S. degree in Dance and General Education dance courses—but the college itself and the support systems that are in place to ensure a rich, diverse educational experience. The accreditation demonstrates that Queensborough is meeting those standards.

And the impacts are huge. “Accreditation gives us clout. It helps with articulation agreements so when students transfer into BFA degree programs at other NASD accredited schools, the transition is more fluid,” said Emily Berry, Associate Professor and Director of the Dance program at Queensborough who added that, “Many of Queensborough’s dance students transfer into BFA programs, sometimes with dance scholarships, which is very rare for a community college.”

Berry added, “The Accreditation also gives us access to more resources. For example, we now have a second dance studio and a state-of-the-art sound system in the large dance studio. These resources drastically impact the education we can offer to our students, which impacts their ability to transfer." She noted how grateful she is for the ongoing strong support of the administration to enhance the program.

"We are overjoyed that Queensborough's A.S. Dance Program has achieved accreditation,” said Dr. Andrea Salis, Chair, Physical Education and Dance. “Professor Berry, together with Professors Geismar and McClam and the entire Dance Faculty have created an exceptional program that fosters diversity and inclusiveness for all students.  The Program is a true hallmark of Queensborough's mission and offers our Dance students an opportunity of a lifetime."

Berry had already taken into account what was needed for accreditation as soon as she joined Queensborough in the fall of 2007.  She implemented massive curriculum revisions including 15 course proposals which were adopted in the spring of 2012. The first class to begin studying under the new curriculum started in the fall of 2012 and graduated in May 2014. From that class, two students transferred to Adelphi University's BFA program, both on dance scholarships. One student transferred to Rutgers University's BFA program on a dance scholarship, and two more transferred to Rutgers University before completing their degree at Queensborough, both on dance scholarships, and one transferred to Long Island University’s (Brooklyn) BFA program.

Equally important to the process is recruitment. Assistant Professors Aviva Geismar and Nicole McClam have significantly shifted the dance student population. Because of their efforts there are more students beginning at the intermediate level than ever before. Their recruitment efforts include going to performing arts high schools, dance studios; virtually any schools with dance programs to teach master classes and speak about what Queensborough offers. The NASD accreditation will add a powerful component to those efforts.

“If you haven’t been dancing since you were very young you likely won’t have the skills to compete for admission into the BFA programs,” said Berry. “What I love about teaching at Queensborough is that open enrollment means students do not have to audition for the program. Instead, whether they have extensive training or no training at all, they take placement classes to match their technique and progress and everyone has an opportunity to transfer into strong BFA programs.”

Students also have several opportunities to shine at Queensborough during the department’s annual spring dance concert, and at the prestigious American College Dance Association (ACDA) Northeast Conference. They also have a chance to perform in Queensborough faculty Kevin McEwen's Kwanzaa Celebration performance.

The Dance program has gained accreditation along with Queensborough’s theatre program which received accreditation in 2016 from the National Association of Schools of Theatre (NAST), the sole accrediting body approved by the Department of Education (DOE).  Also in 2017, the Art and Design department received accreditation from the National Association of Schools of Art and Design.

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