May, 2011

CMS Strategic Vision 2016: Transforming Vision into Practice
David B. Williams

As The College Music Society looks beyond its first 50 years, we reflect on our core values, dedication to college music in North America, and organizational strengths. At the same time, we envision enhancements, new directions, and broader outreach for the Society, as well as members participating in the global village that surrounds us through such technologies as the Web, email, RSS feeds, Twitter, Facebook, and smartphone and tablet apps. Current events encourage us to extend our vision beyond national and music-in-higher-education landmarks to a broader advocacy and international landscape.

This gives you, in a nutshell, the scope of issues on which the CMS Board of Directors has deliberated as it engaged in its strategic planning activity for the Society. We are pleased to announce that the planning, started in 2009 during Cynthia Taggart’s presidency, is complete. The Strategic Vision Plan 2016 will be available in a few weeks after some final editing and Board review. It will be published on the CMS website at <>.

Why a strategic planning process? Better perhaps to view this as a visioning process—a visioning that celebrates our past and employs our strengths to set directions for the next five years. The visioning began with feedback provided by the membership from a survey in early 2010. The results were then distilled and refined by the Society’s leadership into a final plan that looks ahead to 2016. Six goals are offered to guide the work of The College Music Society:

  • Promote more effectively to all members the Society’s resources, professional opportunities, and high quality programming
  • Expand membership
  • Promote and enhance collaboration and interdisciplinary approaches as core values of the Society
  • Provide leadership on current issues facing music inside and outside of higher education
  • Raise the quality, profile, and visibility of the Society’s scholarly publications
  • Strengthen and enhance operations and technologies

Embedded within Strategic Vision Plan 2016 are strategies and actions that offer greater definition for these goals and serve as guideposts and prompts for our leadership, committee and advisory board work, and our wide-ranging professional activities. We challenge every member of the Society to read this planning document and embrace the initiatives that personally resonate; to do so will help guarantee that the Society will find itself better in 2016 for the planning exercise.

To ensure that our visioning effort manifests as actions, a set of “Quick Starts” have been generated from the plan—Quick Starts that challenge us to transform visions into practice within the coming year. Quick Starts to be accomplished by May 2012 include:

  • Develop a statement of the value of music in higher education to share as an advocacy statement.
  • Create at least twelve new student chapters.
  • Create a CMS diplomat program to build connections to faculty and institutions worldwide.
  • Create awards for interdisciplinary faculty presentations and for student presentations at the National Conference.
  • Develop and host at least one webinar on the National Topics for 2011 and 2012.
  • Create a plan for revised publication formats and delivery.
  • Redesign the website to improve navigation and make it more visually compelling.
  • Link the MVL with Career Services initiatives to alert subscribers to other benefits of CMS membership.
  • Create CMS RSS news feeds and a CMS App for iOS and Android smartphones and tablets.

Over the next month I will be contacting various CMS committee chairs and CMS members to request their help to ensure that we complete these Quick Starts within the next year. The Quick Starts will be featured on the < Vision2016.html> webpage along with progress charts for each of the nine activities. We will be tracking these over the next year as we work to reach our goal of 100% completion by May 2012! Some work is already in motion.

The newly expanded Student Advisory Council under the co-leadership of Gene Tranthum (Bowling Green) and Jennifer Snodgrass (Appalachian State) is already at work laying the foundation for building new student chapters. (Should your school be interested, please contact Gene and Jennifer.) The International Initiatives Committee has started work on a diplomat program and four diplomats have volunteered to assist with the upcoming International Conference in South Korea. The Publications Committee, chaired by David Woods, has also been expanded with additional representation including the chair of the ITIS technology committee to help plan for new publication formats and e-publication alternatives. A pilot version of a CMS RSS feed is being tested as well as a new public interface for the CMS website. Plans are underway for developing an Android and an iOS (for iPhones and iPads) app for access to many of the CMS resources from mobile devices— more news on this soon.

This momentum wonderfully illustrates the activity that is already emanating from the two years of work that has gone into the vision planning. Again, my invitation goes out to all members of the Society. If any of the vision plan resonates with your personal interests, please step forward and offer to participate. Everyone’s involvement is most welcomed! On behalf of The College Music Society my thanks go out to all of our members that provided input throughout the planning process. This includes those who responded to the survey, committee chairs and committee members who provided input during the early stages as the plan began to take shape, the Executive Office staff who provided critical support just when needed, and finally, to the following past and present Board members who devoted many hours as we discussed, debated, massaged, pruned, revised, and edited numerous versions of the planning document: Carol Babiracki, Christine Beard, Claire Boge, Susan Conkling, William Everett, Maud Hickey, John Koegel, Max Lifchitz, Sam Magrill, James Perone, Mary Anne Rees, Matthew Shaftel, Janet Sturman, Todd Sullivan, and Cynthia Crump Taggart.