Strategic Plan

University of Kansas

School of Music

Strategic Plan


Vision Statement

We aspire to be an exceptional community of learners that elevates humanity through musical artistry, scholarship, teaching, and mentorship.

Mission Statement

The KU School of Music's mission is to provide students with an excellent and comprehensive musical education that equips them with the skills needed to effectively engage with their communities as educators, clinicians, performers, composers, scholars, leaders, and citizens. We strive to do so in an active environment that nurtures creative and personal growth and prioritizes our core values of community, excellence, sustainability, access, collaboration, and innovation.

Our Core Foundations

Our strategic plan is informed by five core foundations that guide our activities in order to foster a more diverse and inclusive community of learners that is internationally engaged; actively engages with our community through performances, education, research, and clinical work; adheres to the standards and criteria that assure high-quality educational experiences for students and faculty; and unites a broad array of disciplinary perspectives within the study of music.

  1. Intersectional Excellence.

    Our identity is rooted in an effort to broaden who can be excellent, and how we exemplify excellence within an inclusive community that celebrates the richness and diversity of musical arts and scholarship.

  2. Internationalization.

    We engage with the global musical community through institutional partnerships, individual collaborations, and other opportunities.

  3. Community Engagement.

    The very nature of our art and scholarship is rooted in active engagement with our community through performances, education, research, and clinical work.

  4. NASM Accreditation.

    We are a founding member of the National Association of Schools of Music, through which we are accredited. In addition, our Music Therapy program and degrees are also approved through the American Music Therapy Association.

  5. Comprehensive School of Music.

    We bring together outstanding students and faculty in music composition, education, history, performance, therapy, and theory. These diverse perspectives ensure that our students receive a rich and broad musical education, and encourages interdisciplinary collaborations.  

Our Core Values

  1. Community.

    The School of Music is a diverse community of students, faculty, and staff; of artists, scholars, teachers, and therapists. The very nature of music is rooted in the development of and engagement with the many other communities of which we are a part.

  2. Excellence.

    The School of Music is a community that seeks excellence together. We recognize and celebrate excellence in a broad range of artistic, scholarly, educational, and therapeutic endeavors.

  3. Sustainability.

    The School of Music seeks to be a sustainable organization that fosters the enduring health and well-being of our students, faculty, staff, and community and adapts to changes through our opportunities and experiences.

  4. Access.

    The School of Music seeks to make the study of music available to all who are interested.

  5. Collaboration.

    The School of Music recognizes that working in concert is a fundamental aspect of our art and scholarship, and we seek to encourage innovative collaborations among students, faculty, staff, and the community.

  6. Innovation.

    The School of Music draws on its rich traditions as it seeks to become a model site of musical studies in the twenty-first century. Students, faculty, and staff respond to the issues of our time with innovative research, creative work, pedagogy, and service to our school, our disciplines, and our society.

Student Success

These goals correlate to the following institutional objectives in Jayhawks Rising:

  • Increase Enrollment
  • Assure Retention and Completion Through Student Engagement and Satisfaction
  • Improve Placement & Reduce Debt
  • Assure Quality of Academic Programs

Improve Access

  1. Make our majors accessible to students whose primary instrument is not a traditional Western orchestral instrument.
    1. Evaluate the implications of this move for our large ensembles. (Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Advisory Council, Ensembles faculty)
    2. Survey student opinions about this issue. (Student Services staff)
    3. Evaluate the possibility of detaching some scholarship money from auditions. (Dean, Scholarship Coordinator)
    4. Explore the possibility of additional non-performance degree options. (Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Student Services staff, Advisory Council)
    5. Review the admission procedures that require “auditions, examinations, or other evaluations consistent with the purpose of the degree” (NASM Handbook, §V.D.1). (Dean, Advisory Council, full faculty)

  2. Encourage greater engagement with diversity and intersectional excellence.
    1. Develop and adopt a strategic plan in coordination with the University’s RISE priorities     . A few key items from this plan might include forming a Diversity Fellows program for students, incorporating DEIB efforts into annual faculty evaluations and P&T evaluations, and creating DEIB training for GTAs and new faculty.  (Associate Dean for DEIB, DEIB Committee)
    2. Expand our engagement with the Multicultural and McNair Scholars Programs, and other similar efforts at KU. (Associate Dean for DEIB, DEIB Committee)

  3. Track student plans after graduation.
    1. Improve our current post-graduation survey and increase participation rates. (Student Services staff)

  4. Track student debt load.
    1. Work with AIRE and the Student Financial Aid Office to generate data on student debt load. (Student Services staff)

Increase Collaboration

  1. Increase our internationalization efforts.
    1. Continue and expand international opportunities for our students. (Dean, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Advisory Council)
    2. Publicize international opportunities and experiences for our faculty and students. (Communications Officer)
    3. Revise criteria for annual faculty and P&T evaluations to include a way to report the development of international opportunities for students. (Dean, FEC, P&T Committee)

  2. Model excellence for our students through collaborations with guest artists and scholars.
    1. Encourage more collaborations with guest artists and scholars. (Dean, Advisory Council, full faculty)
    2. Publicize collaborations with guest artists and scholars. (Communications Officer)

  3. Increase university-wide collaborations at the staff and faculty levels.
    1. Ensure the School of Music is well-represented on university-wide committees, governance, and other groups. (full faculty, full staff)
    2. Seek out opportunities to collaborate with colleagues in other departments across the university. (full faculty, full staff)

  4. Increase enrollment.
    1. Develop a strategy for advertising courses and degrees to non-majors. (Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Student Services staff, Communications Officer)
    1. Explore the possibilities for new curricula that complement our current programmatic offerings and that respond to the interests of current and prospective students. (Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Student Services staff, CUS, COGSIM)

  1. Collaborate with other institutions on internships, degree maps for transfer students, etc.

  2. Improve our GTA and new faculty orientation offerings
    1. Collaborate with CTE on a Music-specific GTA orientation. (Graduate Student Services Coordinator)
    2. Collaborate with the Center for Faculty Development on a Music-specific new faculty orientation. (Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, full staff)

Healthy and Vibrant Communities

These goals correlate to the following institutional objectives in Jayhawks Rising:

  • Strengthen Service to Local and Global Communities
  • Improve Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging
  • Improve Health and Wellness
  • Increase Workplace Satisfaction
  • Ensure Stewardship of the Institution

Develop Our Community

  1. Place greater value on community-engaged scholarship
    1. Revise P&T and annual faculty evaluation expectations to create a clearer place for community engagement. This should include creating guidelines for how pre-concert lectures, liner notes, program notes, podcasts, community service, and other types of community-engaged work can be represented in annual evaluation and P&T documents and procedures. (Dean, Faculty Evaluation Committee)

  2.  Better promote the School’s community engagement and internationalization efforts.
    1. Develop a portion of our website to be a hub for our community engagement efforts. (Communications Coordinator, full faculty)
    2. Build on and expand the new Internationalization page on our website to communicate more about our engagement with the global community. (Communications Coordinator, full faculty)
    3. Increase participation in programs sponsored by the Center for Service Learning, including the new story map initiative. (Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Communications Coordinator)

  3.  Create a more community-oriented space in Murphy Hall.
    1. Improve signage and decorations in the building, especially in a way that showcases our students, faculty, and staff. Practice rooms are one space of particular need. (Dean, Communications Coordinator)
    2. Install monitors in hallways to feature announcements, upcoming events, and images of students, faculty, and staff. (Dean, Communications Coordinator)
    3. Create additional spaces for community gathering, including adding tables and seats in the courtyard. (Dean)

Improve Our Sustainability

  1. Increase our alumni and donor relations efforts.
    1. Restore the Serenade magazine. (Communications Coordinator)
    2. Investigate the creation of an Alumni Advisory Board. (Dean)
    3. Enhance connections between donors and faculty by increasing the opportunities for faculty to meet with the School’s Endowment representative. (Dean)


  1. Update our learning environments.
    1. Evaluate the functionality of the furniture and technology in our classroom spaces and update as needed to meet pedagogical demands. (Dean)
    2. Continue exploring the possibility of replacing Murphy Hall with a more up-to-date, pedagogically flexible, and accessible building with additional performance space(s) to meet the various needs of our programs. (Dean)
  2. Improve our community’s health, wellness, and safety.
    1. Develop a plan to better communicate the available resources for health, wellness, and safety. (Communications Coordinator)
    2. Develop a plan to better communicate the available resources for academic support. (Student Services Staff)

  3. Redesign the course matrix. (Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Scheduling Coordinator)

Research and Discovery

These goals correlate to the following institutional objectives in Jayhawks Rising:

  • Grow KU Research
  • Recruit, Retain, and Recognize Top Researchers
  • Expand the Impact of KU Research in Kansas and Beyond
  • Promote Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Promote Innovation

  1. Expand the role of the Music Research Institute.
    1. Create a Faculty Advisory Board to support the Music Research Institute Director. (MRI Director)
    2. Develop the Music Research Institute into a research hub for the School of Music to promote faculty and student research, bring in guest speakers, organize conference/symposium events, etc. (MRI Director, MRI Faculty Advisory Board)
  2. Expand the impact of School of Music research in Kansas and beyond.
    1. Increase faculty participation in annual reporting through Faculty Insight. (Dean, FEC)
    2. Clarify definitions and guidelines for reporting creative work in P&T and annual faculty reporting. (Dean, FEC, P&T Committee)
    3. Explore and innovate new forms of research transmission that maximizes exposure and influence. (full faculty)
    4. Devote one faculty meeting or retreat session per year to a Faculty Insight workshop, helping faculty input their activities. (Dean)

Promote Research Excellence

  1. Encourage student and faculty participation in undergraduate and graduate research programs.
    1. Increase awareness of student research opportunities, including KU Center for Undergraduate Research, Rising Scholars, research assistant positions, competitions, grant programs, Research Day at the Capitol, etc. (MRI Director, Communications Coordinator, Student Services staff)
    2. Devote one faculty meeting per year to a report on student research opportunities. (Dean, MRI Director, Student Services Staff)
    3. Devote one REC 100 course meeting per year to a visit from the Center for Undergraduate Research and the Office of Fellowships. (Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, REC 100 instructor)

  2. Celebrate excellence in research and creative excellence.
    1. Better publicize DMA lecture-recitals and student dissertation, thesis, and DMA document defenses. (Graduate Student Services Coordinator, Communications Coordinator)
    2. Better publicize honors recitals and other major events. (Dean, Communications Coordinator, Honors Recital Committee)
    3. Create new awards and/or incentive packages for students. (Dean, Honors Recital Committee, Awards and Recognition Committee)
    4. Examine how FEC and the Awards and Recognition Committee can play a role in helping faculty win more university-level awards. As part of this, create and frequently update a document listing available awards/nomination spots to help ensure a smoother transition from year to year. (FEC, Awards and Recognition Committee)