Community Engagement

burton suzanneSuzanne L. Burton, University of Delaware
Chair, Committee on Community Engagement

The Community Engagement Committee had a productive year, participating in CMS initiatives as well as outside of the Society. Below is a description of accomplishments as well as proposed future directions for community engagement within CMS. 


The committee developed a very successful webinar series, Community Engagement in Action, with presentations on Starting Up: Core Components of Creating a Community Engagement Program by Michael Millar and James Day, The Possibilities! From Institutionalized to Grass Roots Community Engagement with James Day, Donna Emmanuel, and Margaret Miller, Community Engagement in Your Discipline: Examples from the Profession by Donna Emmanuel, and The Scholarship of Community Engagement presented by Kristin Wendland and Cynthia Taggart.

The College Music Society was represented at the Imagining America conference held in Atlanta, Georgia, by committee members Katie Carlisle, Kristin Wendland, and Suzanne Burton who led a workshop entitled, Cultural Transmission and Transformation: Community Engagement through Music. At the CMS National Conference, Katie Carlisle, James Day, Donna Emmanel, and Keitha Hamann presented a well-received panel on promising practices of community engagement, detailing community engagement in varying contexts. In addition, community engagement was brought into the National Conference in the session Composing with Kids led by Maud Hickey, with students from Wyndown Middle School. 

Future Directions 

For 2015, the committee decided that a multidisciplinary panel on community engagement would best serve the Society for the National Conference in Indiana. Representatives from Music, Music Theory, Arts and Community, and Ethnomusicology have been invited to share their best practices. 

Because the theme of the 2016 CMS National Conference is “Sustainability” the committee would like to suggest that the board consider Andrew Furco as a speaker on public/community engagement & assessment. (For more information see: In addition, the committee would like to have a “World Café” in which members can post responses to the question ”What does community engagement mean to you?” and an informance video at the registration desk for the 2016 conference. 

Further, the Community Engagement Committee hopes to expand digital resources for the CMS website, including a video presentation on community engagement and 100-word descriptions of projects with photo(s) of the engagement activity along with a “For more Information” tab that links to the particular person.  Initial reports of engagement activities will be found here.

As Donna Emmanuel takes the helm as the new Community Engagement Chair, the Society will see continued, impassioned activity from the Community Engagement Committee.