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Music Therapy Program to Become
Part of College of Arts and Sciences

RELEASED: April 23, 2007

Music therapy student with youthEAU CLAIRE — The music therapy program at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire will move into the department of music and theatre arts in the College of Arts and Sciences effective July 1, Provost and Vice Chancellor Steve Tallant announced this week.

The music therapy program is currently part of the College of Nursing and Health Sciences.

The program was moved after discussions among administrators, faculty and academic staff leaders in shared governance, said Tallant, who announced the change during the University Senate Executive Committee's April 17 meeting.

Relocating the program is part of the university's response to recommendations from the National Association of Schools of Music, which accredits music programs — including music therapy programs — nationwide.

"It is important we retain the accreditation of our outstanding music programs by meeting the expectations of NASM," said Tallant, who worked closely with College of Arts and Sciences Dean Don Christian and Music and Theatre Arts Chair Robert Knight to prepare a response to the accreditation report. "Music therapy students are best served by programs that require them to develop the same musical performance capabilities as music and music education students."

The future of the music therapy program will be discussed as part of the College of Arts and Sciences' strategic planning process and a university-wide strategic planning initiative.

"The NASM report demanded that if we are to retain music therapy as an academic option at UW-Eau Claire, we need to invest additional resources — more faculty or staff — to make it stronger," Christian said. "We must determine if that is the best use of resources, recognizing that to increase faculty or staff in music therapy we would have to reduce faculty or staff in another program."

Last fall, at Tallant's request, Christian conducted a months-long analysis of the future for music therapy. After the analysis, Christian recommended the music therapy program be closed.

"Eliminating an academic program is a serious step and needs to be fully reviewed by other academic administrators — especially the Provost — and by shared governance," Christian said.

Tallant will review Christian's recommendation, seek public comment and, if he supports the recommendation, bring it to shared governance in the fall. If the program is eliminated, admission into the program will be immediately suspended but the program will continue for four years to allow current students to graduate, Tallant said, noting that other deans have expressed support for Christian's recommendation.

UW-Eau Claire recently realigned another health care-related academic program to better meet the needs of students and the region, Tallant said. The health care administration program, also previously in the College of Nursing and Health Sciences, is now a part of the College of Business.

The move strengthened the HCA program, and has allowed the College of Nursing and Health Sciences to focus on new initiatives, including the planning of a doctoral of nursing practice program, said Tallant.

If approved, the DNP program will help meet the pressing demand for well-educated and highly trained nurses in the region, said Elaine Wendt, dean of the College of Nursing and Health Sciences.

"The technical, communication and collaborative training that nurses need to be successful practitioners are escalating dramatically," Wendt said. "It is becoming more difficult to meet all of our nursing needs through bachelors- and masters-educated nurses. Practicing nurses educated at the doctoral level fill a critical health care need."

Planning and approval of the new degree will take several years, Wendt said, adding that she anticipates students to first enter the program in 2009.

Possible program changes also are being considered to strengthen the environmental public health program in the College of Nursing and Health Sciences.

For additional information, contact Steve Tallant, provost and vice chancellor for Academic Affairs, at 715-836-3156 or tallansh@uwec.edu.

-30-

MR/JB

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