As dean of the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, I’m writing to address concerns raised in the wake of changes that will be implemented within our Department of Music beginning fall 2015. These modifications are the result of a deliberative process that has taken place across the college to ensure we are operating efficiently and in a fiscally responsible manner.
First, let me emphasize that there will be no change in the types of music courses offered, and the opportunity to participate in high quality ensemble performance experiences in jazz, chamber, choir, and band is not going away. Private lessons will also continue to be offered to students majoring or minoring in music.
As was announced, fees for private lessons, recitals and ensemble participation will now be charged; however, these fees will be waived for Presidential Scholars in the Arts and music majors and minors who declared prior to March 2015. This was a budgetary decision on the part of the college and it is in keeping with the fee structure of the vast majority of music programs across the country. Music programs that do not charge performance study fees often rely on endowed funds to subsidize these costs.
To support growth in the number of majors and minors, the Music Department is focused on having more lower-level music courses taught by full-time faculty. With that in mind, plans call for hiring additional full-time faculty to teach performance. As well, we will be creating a new course that will expose a greater number of students to performance study.
More broadly, we remain committed to the visual and performing arts and have been expanding our footprint in this area, in part, thanks to the Corcoran. I believe all of these efforts will reinforce our core mission as a college dedicated to rigorous scholarship and engagement.
Ben Vinson, III
Dean, Columbian College of Arts and Sciences
George Washington University