Jan 222013


By Katherine Ayers

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

While the director of East Carolina University’s Music Therapy program may be hopeful about its future, the School of Music dean is not as optimistic.

After a Friday meeting with ECU Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Marilyn Sheerer, School of Music Dean Chris Buddo and Music Education Department Chair Michelle Hairston, Music Therapy Director Barbara Memory said she was “hopeful” the major could be saved.

However, Buddo said on Monday that the major still is slated for elimination in July.

Buddo said the University of North Carolina General Administration does a study of low-performing programs every two years and looks both at enrollment numbers and the rate of graduation when considering whether to keep a program. Music Therapy had been on the report for a number of years, including the Fall 2012 report. Buddo said he has argued in 2008, 2010 and 2012 to keep the program.

“In our view it’s a growing field of study that has more and more connections to the mainstream American community,” he said. “What I’ve never argued is that we have the numbers to support it.”

Once UNC released the low-performing programs report in early fall, ECU’s Academic Council had to decide what to do with it. Buddo said that beginning in 2008, the council set goals to increase both the program’s enrollment and graduation numbers. The enrollment has increased, but the graduation numbers have not.

“We’re in tough economic times and we’re trying to use resources as effectively as possible,” Buddo said. “For that reason, the Academic Council recommended in Fall 2012 that the program be eliminated.”

The Academic Council passed its recommendation on to ECU’s Chancellor Steve Ballard who accepted the recommendation and forwarded it to the UNC General Administration, according to ECU News Service Director Mary Schulken.

Buddo said that the program’s elimination still is in process.

“What we have done is to look for strategies while carefully husbanding resources,” he said. “We value music therapy as a university and in the School of Music and I anticipate a bright future for the program.

“With that in mind, we’ve tried to develop a strategy where music therapy can still be a part of the School of Music,” he said.

The meeting on Friday was a chance to discuss preliminary possibilities of what to do with the MT program. Buddo said Memory and Hairston wanted the opportunity to speak with Sheerer about the recommendation from the Academic Council and that the meeting was held at their request.

Responding to Memory’s assertion that the School of Music and its faculty were not kept aware of the General Administration’s and Academic Council’s process, Buddo said that was inaccurate.

“As soon as this productivity report came out, I shared it with the School of Music and the department chair,” he said. “I’ve worked with faculty on how to respond and we gathered data. I was armed with that data when I went to the (Academic Council) meetings.”

Buddo said it is too early to discuss what changes to the Music Therapy program might look like, since they would have to be approved by university administration and have buy-in from the entire music faculty since the faculty is responsible for restructuring any curriculum.

“We’re at the very early stages of being able to hang on to music therapy,” Buddo said. “The recommendation to eliminate it as a major is still moving forward.”

Memory could not be reached for comment on Monday.

Contact Katherine Ayers at kayers@reflector.com and 252-329-9567. Follow her on Twitter @KatieAyersGDR.

via The Daily Reflector.


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