University of Southern Maine: Amend the recent budget cuts that will cause irreparable harm to the quality of the School of Music.
The recent and proposed cuts eliminating faculty positions, operating funds, and other unanticipated depredations, will have such a devastatingly adverse effect on the quality of programs, that if not reversed or mitigated, will render our School of Music completely non-viable within five years.
The present elimination and non-replacements of faculty positions will force the remaining faculty and staff members to take on more responsibility in addition to their already overloaded schedules. This will cause an immediate weakening of programs and goals; the quality of course offerings will suffer.
In the next few years, non-replacement (“by attrition”) of senior faculty as they retire, will cripple not only the Music Education Program, but all our other degree programs as well, and will of course completely destroy all the performing ensembles. This will affect the entire University community, as many non-majors also enjoy the soul-affirming benefits of performing in the Concert Band, Chorale, Orchestra and Chamber Music groups.
The University of Southern Maine School of Music has become one of the top five music schools in New England. Its well-known and unique music education program is admired by neighboring Universities and Schools, and it serves as a model being adopted by other University Music Education programs.
With a 65% completion rate (compared to USM as a whole’s 20%), and a 95% job placement rate in Music Education, how can one not admire the School of Music’s program in Music Education?
The School of Music as a whole is targeted for a disproportionate amount of the $5 million dollar proposed budget cut, thus making the School of Music part of the $640,000-$750,000 total cut to the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Studies. We understand that the savings generated by non-replacement of future retirees is not permitted to be part of the SoM’s portion of the cuts as these announcements were made in September before the huge cut was assessed, which seems grossly unfair.
Here are the proposed cuts given to the School of Music:
1. Elimination of position: Mr. Bizub's (music education faculty) full-time position in music education was scheduled to convert to a tenure-track faculty position beginning next academic year. Instead the position has been eliminated.
2. Non-replacement of retiring faculty: a. Professor Fithian (voice faculty) is retiring at the end of this academic year. His position (full-time faculty member in voice) will not be replaced.
b. Professor Keef (bassoon faculty), who has held a permanent half-time position in music for more than 30 years, is retiring at the end of this academic year. Her position will not be replaced.
3. Dr. Martin (director of wind band, conducting faculty) begins phased retirement next year, meaning he will carry a reduced teaching and service load for the next 3+ years. We are negotiating with the administration to replace the rest of his current load with a new hire, but so far we have only been offered a lecturer (non-tenure-eligible) position, which will not be enough to sustain and enhance the strong program in winds that we need at USM.
4. Reduction in number of part-time faculty course sections: from 12 to 8 for next fall.
These cuts are a death sentence to the School of Music. While other departments are also sustaining cuts, it seems the School of Music is the only one that is to be slashed to extinction. Please help reverse these cuts and to realize that loss of Faculty means loss of Students, which soon leads to loss of the School of Music.
“Without Music, Life Would B-Flat”
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