Music major in the works

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Students rehearse for a 2016 performance of Les Miserables in the Haggar University Center. Photo by Elizabeth Kerin.

On Tuesday, Oct. 2, the Faculty Senate approved the proposal for a music major presented by Kristin Van Cleve, director of the Music Department.

The proposal, first made last spring, was opened to discussion for the first time, and the faculty body reviewed the plan to ensure its rigor and adherence to national accreditation standards, as well as to the standards of the University of Dallas.

This is a significant step for the university, because with the official recognition of the blueprints of the Bachelor’s of Music Degree Plan by the Faculty Senate, the process of instituting the program can move forward. The Board of Trustees will meet this month to pass the proposal, and the interim president must also give his approval.

The proposal for the music major is a comprehensive plan developed by Van Cleve and includes both the curriculum and course requirements as well as the enumeration of necessary faculty and funds. Now that the program approval process is underway, the new challenge lies in gathering funds.

“The implementation of the music major is contingent upon funds,” Van Cleve said.

She explained that the university cannot offer the major before a certain confidential sum has been gathered to cover the costs of the new program.

The Advancement Office and the Administration are currently searching for monetary contributions to the music program from various donor foundations and individuals.

Interim Dean of Constantine College, Dr. Sally Hicks, was also instrumental in bringing the music major proposal to the table. According to Van Cleve, Dr. Hicks added the “finishing touches” to her curriculum development by attending to the details pertaining to accreditation requirements and projected costs for the university.

Hicks believes that the availability of a music major at UD will add to the richness of the musical culture, something that already has a strong foundation through music concentration classes, private lessons, ensembles and chorale. Even though she is a science professor, Hicks regularly attends student recitals on campus and is excited about helping the Music Department grow.

“I’ve known faculty, students and alumni who have wanted a bachelor’s degree program in music at the university during the 30 years I’ve worked here,” she said.

Hicks believes that a complete music program is not only a deep desire of many people connected to UD, but also that it is a vital part of our identity as a liberal arts school.

“Being a liberal arts school without a complete music program is having a hole in our otherwise well-rounded curriculum,” she said.

Van Cleve looks forward to providing students with more musical opportunities at UD. A good number of current students already study music outside of their scholastic education, and the new program is sure to draw more prospective students.

“I feel if we were able to offer a music major, we would get more students of a high musical level, which would enhance not only the Musical Department but also the University as a whole,” Van Cleve said. “I really hope we will be able to offer the major sooner than later and attract students who might have gone elsewhere.”

Neither Van Cleve nor Hicks know how long it will be before the music major will be a fully functioning and instituted as part of the UD curriculum. The major’s fate ultimately rests on the availability of funds. Regardless, the approval process is an exciting start.

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