Mark Tyler Miller plans to engage students with a unique, hands-on teaching style
In the Spring 2018 semester, students and faculty were heartbroken to hear that the Theater Program was at risk of being cut. After outcry from supporters within the community both on and off campus, Fresno Pacific was able to save the program and hire a new Theater Director to help cultivate and broaden it.
Mark Tyler Miller, a recent graduate from the University of Illinois, says that he has always had a passion for theater and acting. From humble beginnings as “the color yellow” in a church play at age 5, he now takes on an entire program with one major goal in mind: to provide an interactive classroom that students won’t forget. “When students take a class in the theater department I want it to be something that they don’t forget that they did. So I’m going to be challenging them with some very personal, vulnerable, and very fun activities in class and altogether give students a totally unique learning experience,” Miller said.
Although Miller has only been on campus for a short period, he’s already making an impact on his students with his charismatic, hands-on teaching style. Transfer student Alyssa Gaynor who is currently enrolled in Millers Theater 350 class is already enjoying Miller’s methods. “He’s very upbeat and fun. He definitely brings his great sense of humor to the classroom and makes students feel at ease with what they’re working on. He also has an MFA in theater so he also brings great experience to the classroom” Gaynor said.
Robbie Hill, another student in Miller’s class, has also had a positive experience with Miller. “He is one of the most energetic people I have ever met on this campus. He is on fire for this job and he is already doing as much as he can to expand our theatre department into other facets within Fresno,” Hill said.
Outside of reaching students who are already on campus, Miller is also working towards expanding the theater program altogether by participating in outreach to recruit both high school students in the area, and students in other states. “I’m offering workshops to students and teaching some different things like stage combat, viewpointing, scene work, and audition coaching,” Miller said. Faculty from the admissions office also accompany these trips to high schools around the area so that students can enjoy the workshop and get connected with information about what it’s like to be a Sunbird.
Although Miller does hope to gain more students who are interested in the theater major, he also encourages students of all interests to take theater classes or to simply get involved in productions. “There’s no rule that says you have to have prior experience or even know what you’re doing at all,” Miller said.