David Myers, University of Minnesota
CMS Board Member At Large
This report lists activities for the calendar year 2015. I have appreciated the opportunity to serve The College Music Society as the first Board Member At Large, and to participate in helping to define this position. I am pleased that the board supported an additional year in the first term of this position, which gave time for further conversation and review re: the role of the at-large board member.
Board Meeting and Conference Attendance
I participated in virtual and in-person Board meetings in 2015. As has become my pattern, I endeavored to look across committees and ad hoc groups that have no linear board representative and to make myself available to those groups as they may wish to carry concerns and interests to the Board in general. Depending on membership and attendees, some of these constituents don’t feel a particular need for Board attention; others feel that the Board is less visibly engaged with their concerns than it should be. In addition, I consult from time to time with my advisory group, asking them to suggest possible conference sessions and seeking their feedback on the work of CMS. This is an area, going forward, that could be strengthened. Music industry and diversity committees, for example, are very active in proposing and presenting sessions, so the advisory group really doesn’t need much involvement in those areas. However, I was not successful in advancing sessions on topics such as dealing with special learning needs populations in higher music education and the impact of cultural policy on music schools. These are topics that may be well covered in other forums, so I’m not entirely sure how much interest there would be in CMS. In addition, I’m not sure how much expertise there may be in these arenas.
In November 2015, I attended the national conference in Indianapolis, where I participated in the President’s Forum, shared a session on musical knowing/music literacy, and attended the annual Board meeting. During this time, I also visited with members and chairs of at-large constituencies, including the community engagement, diversity, and music industry groups. I participated in a conversation with the administrators’ group re: the upcoming (January 2016) summit in Dallas on assessment and metrics as applied to higher music education (during the year I also participated in several video conferences re: planning for this summit and served on the planning task force). As reported previously, I would like to see CMS develop more programming related to health and wellness; diversity issues that include disabilities and learning problems in higher education as well as racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity; and curricular considerations generated by the recent task force report on the undergraduate major. I should say, of course, that the 2015 conference did include many references to the task force report and was the impetus for numerous sessions.
As reported last year, I believe that serving as chairperson of the Task Force on the Undergraduate Music Major was an important function related to, but not necessarily fulfilling, my role as at-large board member. I was pleased to be able to speak on the task force’s behalf to the Board and to attempt to answer questions raised by Board members and others about the report, some of them decidedly and unfairly personal, negative, and accusatory. The need to establish firm bottom lines of respect for the task force and its work was an unfortunate and uncomfortable episode, and I was disappointed that CMS was not able to endorse the work of a dedicated team of individuals without multiple efforts at intervention on behalf of political agendas. The intent was, and has always been, to catalyze a thoughtful dialogue. Despite the time and energy consumed, I am pleased that it appears we resolved the issues with at least some measure of satisfaction for everyone. I thank President Betty Anne Younker for her shuttle diplomacy, and am glad that the report now continues to catalyze conversation about higher education both in the U.S. and internationally.
It has been my privilege to be the initial holder of this position within CMS, and I look forward to continuing years of contributing personally and financially to making CMS a leader in the essential and dynamic consideration and reconsideration of how music in higher education contributes to the goal of quality lives, living, and learning for all people.