Engagement with Higher Education

pike pamela headshotPamela Pike, Louisiana State University
Chair, Committee on Engagement with Higher Education



Background and overview of committee work

For the past several years, the Music in Higher Education committee has been engaged in exploring (through panels at annual CMS national conferences in 2011 and 2012) the role and benefits of the bachelor of arts program in the undergraduate music curriculum. During 2013 the committee explored other potential topics that would benefit and be of interest to the CMS membership at large. Members of the Music in Higher Education Committee (Pamela Pike, chair; William Price, Jennifer Snow, Aimé Sposato, and Betty Anne Younker) have chosen two topics to work on during 2014: 

1. Communicating professional value of music faculty within the academy; 

2. Mentorship of young professionals, particularly within the academy. 

The committee will research these topics during the first half of the year. We anticipate communicating findings, conclusions, and opinions to the CMS membership through potential Symposium articles and/or forums at the CMS national conference or through a CMS webinar. 

During the 2013 national conference in Cambridge, committee members in attendance met to confirm work plans for the coming year. Additionally, the committee chair met with Robby D. Gunstream, Executive Director of CMS, and with other engagement committee chairs. These meetings were highly valuable as they helped the committee chair to identify topics that would receive support of both the CMS management team and the broader CMS community. Additionally, the engagement committee chairs meeting created an awareness of projects that other committees are working on, it highlighted ways in which our committees could collaborate on future projects, and it facilitated anticipated collaboration during 2014. 

 Defining and communicating professional value

In the case of the first topic that we will address during 2014, we believe that there will be several phases to the research and presentation of findings. Since the 1997 publication of Ernest Boyer’s Scholarship Reconsidered musicians in higher education have had some tools for placing value on teaching, the scholarship of discovery and creativity, and service. In an era when there is increased emphasis on faculty accountability and student outcomes, on the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) subjects in universities, and few systematic means for placing empirical value on the performance and creativity of music faculty, we believe that the time has come to renew discussion on how we value the role of musical creativity and teaching within the academy. 

There is little doubt that music faculty are productive; annual reviews report high numbers of performances, research publications, and professional presentations. Additionally, student assessments often show that students are learning the requisite skills of music performance. However, music administrators must have suitable metrics that demonstrate the value of both faculty creativity and student learning within the larger university and community if music schools are to be considered vital assets to the university. 

Members of the committee for Music in Higher Education have made a commitment to collaborate with select individuals from the CMS Music Business and Industry committee to explore issues being faced by faculty and music administrators in effectively valuing faculty work. The committee work will take place during the first half of 2014 and hopefully will culminate with a forum discussion (either online via a webinar or at the CMS national conference) that will include engagement with audience members from the CMS community. Following the forum, based on prior research and ideas generated from the forum discussion, the committee will identify a set of shared values that must be communicated to upper administrators. The committee aims to publish a document on the web site, including metrics for valuing of faculty creativity and student outcomes, which will be easily accessible for the greater CMS community. 

Mentoring of young professionals

The committee anticipates working on the topic of professional mentorship via email and/or conference calls throughout 2014. Members of our committee who are particularly interested in this topic will assume primary responsibilities for meeting our objectives. Our ultimate goal is to publish an article in Symposium that would be of value for CMS members across the country who might be serving in either the mentee or mentor role. We anticipate that there may be some crossover with our other topic of communicating faculty value, as this is a key element of novice faculty success, leading to reappointment, promotion, and tenure, within institutions of higher education.