CMS Initiative: Support for Historically Underrepresented Populations

It is neither news nor a great insight that there are people who, by virtue of their membership in a  particular group, have experienced discrimination.  Over the past four decades, The College Music Society has examined the causes and results of discrimination in higher education through the lenses of gender, race, and inclusivity and has considered conditions required for a more equitable future for everyone.  It is the obligation of the Society to do what it can to ensure that the future for all music professionals in tertiary education is as equitable as it can conceivably be.

Our premise is that, today, persons who are members of groups that have experienced  discrimination in the past are still too infrequently found in teaching, administrative, and leadership positions in tertiary-level education in music.  Further, while many such colleagues are highly accomplished professionals, they are too infrequently members of professional organizations, on their conference programs, or in attendance at their meetings.  As do so many of its colleague organizations, The College Music Society welcomes all musicians and encourages all to participate in meetings, publications, professional activities, and special projects, and values all contributions and insights concerning the workings of music in education, broadly defined.  What can the Society do to insure that all persons find a welcoming environment?

The rationale for inclusion is clear. The continually evolving demographics across regions and nations makes it essential that the professional force is comprised of people across a wide spectrum of perspectives and experiences. Music units at colleges, conservatories, universities, community schools, and in associated professional tracks reap the benefits of faculty contributions that encompass valued minority colleagues and students.

“Growing a Presence of Colleagues who have Historically Experienced Discrimination” is an CMS Initiative that recognizes the need to reach out to individuals at all stages of their professional life -- early in their career as graduate students, throughout their professional lives, and after they have left full-time professional service.  In order to integrate them and their ideas into conversations and events in the mainstream of music in higher education, through this initiative the Society will

  • actively identify graduate students from populations of African Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Native Americans.

  • support graduate student participation in the Society's National Conference so as to acquaint them to pertinent issues of music and music teaching in higher education.  These students will be given the opportunity to attend a variety of paper sessions, panels, concerts, and various other events of the CMS conference, and to meet active professionals in and beyond the academy.  Their interest and involvement in matters of music, learning, and teaching can be sparked by early encounters with active professionals who will serve as models and mentors for them.  By making funds available to assist graduate students in their travel expenses, they can begin to shape their careers in music in ways that benefit them, the Society, and the profession at large.
  • support the participation of early, mid-, and later-career professionals in the Society's National Conference so as to insure that their ideas and perspectives are part of CMS's national discourse.

  • honor those who have left full-time service for the perspective they can bring to the work of all.

I hope that we might begin a concerted effort to attract into our midst colleagues who have historically experienced discrimination, such that by the close of the current presidential term we have at least one travel grant in place and have in development some important ways to nurture and support prospective colleagues of diverse backgrounds and experiences.

Contributions to "Growing a Presence" may be made via the secure CMS website by clicking here.

Patricia Shehan Campbell, President
The College Music Society