I have just returned from two important conferences in my discipline: The College Music Society and the National Association of Schools of Music. Both were wonderfully executed, and I was delighted with the opportunities both provided for me to reconnect with old colleagues and engage with new acquaintances. The intellectual engagement and the passion for music and education were palpable. The NASM Working Group on Teacher Preparation recently released Sample Curricular Patterns for Master’s degrees in Music Education, intended as springboards for analysis and action by colleges and university. Among the many considerations for analysis by institutions offering Master’s degrees are: 1) how can we reach traditionally underserved students? And 2) especially in the current economy, how can we offer professional education without requiring the student to give up his or her employment?
During the CMS annual meeting, I participated on a panel with colleagues from Kent State University, Boston University, and the University of Florida; our panel was entitled “Rigorous and Engaging: The State of Online Graduate Education.” In the session we described the current state of online Master’s degree education in terms of curricular scope, instructional design, resources necessary, and student populations served. Although it may not fit every institution or every graduate student, distance education can offer a rigorous, engaging, and effective solution for graduate-level professional education.
During the NASM annual meeting, I heard Diana Senechal deliver an address to the Association. Senechal is the author of Republic of Noise: The Loss of Solitude in Schools and Culture. Her address was entitled “Measure Against Measure: Responsibility Versus Accountability in Education.” I appreciate her work, because she makes her case based on philosophical and literary sources. I find this so refreshing, since many who write on education make their arguments based solely on statistical studies. At this meeting I was invited to meet with the Executive Director and forty other colleagues during a private consultation for representatives of Doctoral Degree-Granting Institutions. The discussions centered on graduate entrance and placement examinations and multidisciplinary multimedia.
Now that I have returned from these conferences, I am immersing myself in reading through the comments and discussions posted here. In reading the prior comments on online learning, SSIs, Infosilem, etc., I am very pleased that we are embarking on this new Academic Affairs Strategic Plan, because it seems to me that we need to refocus our efforts on allowing the various disciplines to do what they do best. Why do we use the same metric for all faculty relative to the SSIs. Not every question is relative to each, and the norming groups don’t make sense, especially for our colleagues in the Regional Campuses. Timetabling has been a huge problem for many Departments and Schools. I think it has brought some value to scheduling the CORE courses for our undergraduate students; however, for those areas which have exclusive-use rooms, it makes precious little sense to have a software system scheduling courses. The software has been most problematic for Music, Theatre and Dance, and the description of “nightmarish” is accurate.
Thank you to those of you who have read through this lengthy post. I have enjoyed reading each of the previous comments, and I have tried to touch on them all in this one of mine. I have no response to the posting relative to OT at East Liverpool. I understand that it has been frustrating to not have adequate space to teach and train your students. If we are to provide excellent support for our students and faculty, updates to facilities and equipment is paramount. It appears that we are making good progress in this area for many of our programs; however, as the Director of a School located in a building that was built in the late 1950s, I certainly can sympathize.