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The BG News
BG24 Newscast
November 30, 2023

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Unique to BG

Ten years ago, a committee was formed to investigate a new degree for the College of Musical Arts.

Five years ago, the committee focused in on one option, and two years ago, the program began to be developed.

Getting the doctorate in contemporary music program implemented at the University was a long process, according to Richard Kennell, dean of the College of Musical Arts.

Once work was completed on planning the curriculum, the faculty in the College of Musical Arts reviewed and voted on it. It was then sent to a graduate council, the faculty senate, the president’s cabinet and finally the board of trustees.

Once it was approved at the University, it was sent to the Board of Regents, who then shared it with other universities in Ohio. The other universities were able to review the curriculum and ask questions.

The Regents Advisory Committee on Graduate Studies was then able to review it and recommend that the Board of Regents pass it.

This was the third attempt by the College of Musical Arts to get a curriculum passed. The curriculum, as it is now, was approved last spring.

Next fall will be the first semester of classes for which the doctorate in contemporary music will be offered.

Four students will be accepted into the program for next fall, Kennell said. Each year after that, four more students will be added so that at the end of four years, there will be 16 students.

The program will be unique in many ways.

“There’s only a handful of programs that specialize in contemporary music around the country,” Kennell said.

Requirements for the program, which are a part of what set it apart from the others, will include classes, recitals and writing compositions, as well as an internship that must be outside academia, according to Shrude.

For the purposes of this degree, contemporary music is defined as art music, not pop or commercial music, noted Shrude. “It would be appropriate for a concert hall.”

However, contemporary music is usually defined as any music written after 1945, according to Shrude.

Because of this distinction, among other things, the program is unique to the University alone.

Those who complete the program will be equipped to teach at the college level, work in orchestra offices and work in community leadership positions, as well as do touring and other nontraditional approaches to music, according to Kennell.

“With the research specialty we will prepare a new kind of doctoral student and will prepare a new kind of music professional for various kinds of jobs and various kinds of music and educational institutions,” said Kennell.

The benefits of this program are not limited to the students who go through it. The faculty and the University will also benefit from it.

“It raises the international profile of the graduate programs at BGSU,” said Deanne Snavely, associate dean of the graduate college.

Shrude similarly noted that it would take the program to another level.

“The college is more than ready to offer a program like this,” said Shrude.

“Now students are demanding to study at the doctoral level with our faculty,” said Snavely.

According to Kennell, the new program will allow the College of Musical Arts to recruit the best faculty possible in the future, which will also increase the reputation of the program and the University at large.

The doctorate of contemporary music program is important to the College of Musical Arts because, “it recognizes the strength of our faculty,” said Kennell.

“Music schools just don’t start offering doctoral programs. They sort of have to earn that opportunity.”

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