Emmy award-winning actor Timothy Busfield will join the College of Communication Arts and Sciences at Michigan State University (MSU) as an artist in residence, effective June 15.
In this new role, Busfield will co-teach courses that emphasize acting and fiction film production, provide insights based on his experience as a professional in theatre and film, and bring noted industry professionals to campus for workshops. He will also be the director of national content for WKAR, where he will develop original content for major networks, cable networks, movie studios and new media.
“I’m looking forward to sharing my experience with the students,” said Busfield. “I’ve learned much in my career and I love helping those that are also eager to learn. My goal is to help their transitions into the major (and not so major) film and theatre communities when they graduate.”
Prabu David, dean of the College of Communication Arts and Sciences, shared his enthusiasm on having Busfield join the college, stating, "Tim brings a wealth of experience in acting, directing and moviemaking, which will add new energy to the Media Arts Collaborative, a new collaboration for creative work between the College of Communication Arts and Sciences and the College of Arts and Letters," said David. "We are also excited about collaborating with Tim to create compelling content for WKAR."
A native of East Lansing, Michigan, Busfield was eager to rejoin the mid-Michigan community, specifically MSU, stating “I grew up in East Lansing. My dad taught speech and theater at MSU and my mom and stepfather retired after many decades with the MSU Press... so in short, I'm all Green and White. Then, in January my heart jumped when President Simon announced that she was interested in WKAR producing more original content. I felt I was a perfect fit to help execute her vision of seeing WKAR and MSU move into the market of major television and film.”
Susi Elkins, interim director of Broadcasting and general manager of WKAR, is looking forward to having Busfield join her team. "It's so exciting for us that Tim is returning home to East Lansing, eager to give back to the community and to join our team at WKAR. His creativity, experience and enthusiasm for engaging audiences is unmatched and we're thrilled to be working with him," said Elkins.
Another aspect of Busfield’s new role for MSU will incorporate promoting experiential learning opportunities for students interested in acting in fiction and nonfiction productions. This work will include the Theater2Film Project, dedicated to transforming student theatre productions into film, and Busfield’s Performing Arts Warm Up, a weekend performing arts camp for kids.
“All of our participants will act a little, sing in a group, dance in a group, as well as learn how to create and make their own stories on film,” Busfield said of the Performing Arts Warm Up. “We believe this will help give them the confidence to ‘try out’ for school plays and clubs, and hopefully make theatre and film their extracurricular activities during this next school year.”
This year’s Performing Arts Warm Up will be presented by the East Lansing Public Library and MSU and will take place on Saturday, September 10 and Sunday, September 11 from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. in the WKAR studios on MSU’s campus.
Busfield has been working in the theatre and film industry for 37 years. He is most recognized for his work in "thirtysomething", "Field of Dreams" and "The West Wing". Most recently, Busfield has sold seven pilots to major networks and has directed four others, including "The Fosters" which is currently still on the air.
By Nikki W. O'Meara