In Conversation with President Keith Ward

Keith Ward

I write to you from San Antonio following our national conference and Board meeting. The hotel felt different this morning: no conference registration desk, no exhibits, and a different group of conferees unknown to me. I missed familiar faces, the focus of presenters on the way to their sessions, the infectious bursts of laughter from colleagues gathering once again, and the curious, sometimes anxious looks of first-time attendees taking everything in, navigating their way into the fold, experiencing something new.

Our sixtieth conference is in the books now, and what a great conference it was. Three compelling keynotes, insightful sessions on a broad array of topics, a conference structure designed to foster discussion, mentoring sessions, concerts featuring the creativity of CMS members as composers and performers, Mariachi bands, the River Walk: it was a three-day event both exhilarating and, satisfyingly, exhausting. Many thanks to Donna Emmanuel and her program committee for designing such a fabulous conference.

I also am delighted to announce that the mini-campaign by the CMS Fund successfully reached the $10,000 threshold for the Student Travel Award Fund by the end of the conference. Thank you to all who contributed! The generous spirit of CMS members will offer material support that improves the opportunity for students to attend our conferences. Thank you, Jim Scott and the CMS Fund Board, for your leadership.

Another important event of the past weekend was the annual Board of Directors meeting. The Board meets online throughout the year; it is at the national conference when it spends an entire day in session. This month I would like to share with you some of its work from October 29.

Board meetings consist first of addressing the business of the Society, its functioning and governance. Here are some highlights from this year’s meeting:

  • Review and approval of the Society’s budget for FY 2018.
  • Revised nominations procedures for election to the Board.
  • Selection of a prioritized list of individuals to approach to serve as the Trotter lecturer for the 2018 conference, which will be held in the spectacular city of Vancouver, Canada.
  • Initial round of selecting sites for the 2021 and possibly 2022 national conferences. In 2018 we are in Vancouver; 2019 in Louisville, Kentucky; and 2020 in Miami, Florida. The Board is currently considering sites in the Mid-Atlantic and Pacific Southwest regions for 2021 and 2022.
  • Approving a committee member for the national conference program committee.

Board meetings also are times when questions are asked, new initiatives for the Society are explored, and charges are developed for appropriate governance committees. Here are some highlights, the results of which will be rolled out as the year unfolds:

  • Online, searchable directory of music faculties in the United States and Canada: on schedule, to be launched in January.
  • Music Vacancy List: revision, expansion, and enhancement to be undertaken in 2018.
  • Charging the appropriate governance committee to develop a more open process to selecting locations of international conferences.
  • Launching a climate survey via the appropriate governance committee to collect data on experiences of faculty of color: scheduled for consideration in February.
  • Develop with the appropriate governance committee a certificate in music leadership geared toward chairing music programs: scheduled for consideration in February.
  • Expanding the Board to include a representative from music industry studies: under consideration and scheduled for action in February.
  • Revising membership dues, affecting members at their next renewal beginning January 1, 2018. In order to catch up with inflation membership dues will rise.  
  • Expanding membership categories. To the existing membership categories of Regular, Student, and Retired are added Lower Income (under $40,000), First-Time (a discount in the first year), and an initial-year discount to those whose membership has lapsed for five or more years.
  • Developing policies to avoid any conflict of interest between program committee members and program selection: scheduled for action in February.
  • Limiting Board member participation on governance or programming committees: scheduled for action in February.

Please join me in thanking Connie Glen, Dan Adams, Nancy Barry, and Betty Anne Younker for their service on the Board and for their exuberant dedication in a remarkable time for the CMS. Their service will conclude this December.

In my report at the Business Meeting at the San Antonio conference, I remarked that that the work of CMS is ongoing. I hope this brief summary of the Board’s work offers some evidence to my claim. The ongoing nature of our work also goes beyond governance. What part do you want to play in the future of our very special organization? I invite your involvement!