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Media Memo: UW-Eau Claire Eliminates Music Therapy Program

TO: News Editors and Directors

FROM: Judy Berthiaume, Director

DATE: March 11, 2008

SUBJECT: UW-Eau Claire Eliminates Music Therapy Program

UW-Eau Claire Chancellor Brian Levin-Stankevich this week signed his agreement to a recommendation from the University Senate to eliminate the music therapy program.

Students currently enrolled in the program and incoming students accepted into the program for fall 2008 will be allowed to continue in the program to earn a degree in music therapy.

Since 2004, the music therapy program has had just one faculty member who teaches all of its courses.

In fall 2007, Provost Steve Tallant recommended to the University Senate's Academic Policies Committee that the music therapy program be eliminated because of insufficient resources and concerns that the entire program was dependent on one faculty member. A decision was delayed at that time to give the music and theatre arts department an opportunity to review the issue and make a recommendation regarding reallocating department resources to better support the program.

In late 2007, the music and theatre arts department recommended that vacant positions in the department not be allocated to the music therapy program.

As a result, the APC voted earlier this year to recommend to the full University Senate that the program be eliminated. The Senate supported that recommendation Feb. 26 and forwarded the recommendation to eliminate the program to the Chancellor.

Attached is a copy of a message from the Chancellor that was sent to the campus community earlier today.

For more information, contact Chancellor Brian Levin-Stankevich at 715-836-2327 or


March 11, 20008

On behalf of Chancellor Brian Levin-Stankevich this message is being sent to all UW-Eau Claire students and employees.


After carefully considering the recommendations made through the established procedures of shared governance -- including the vote of the UW-Eau Claire University Senate -- I have signed my agreement with the Feb. 26 Senate resolution to eliminate the bachelor of music therapy and the comprehensive major in music therapy.

To ensure fairness and to fulfill our obligation to our students, all students currently enrolled in music therapy and all incoming students offered admission to the program for fall 2008 will be given the opportunity to earn a degree in music therapy. Students currently enrolled in or entering the program will be provided the same level of course availability and scheduling that has been afforded them in the past years. These students remain integral to the university, and our commitment to them is no less than to students in any other major field of study.

This was not a decision I reached hastily or easily. I spent many hours reviewing the numerous accomplishments of our music therapy program, including those of current and former faculty, students and alumni. I read with interest the letters from those who support the program, including individuals, businesses and organizations in our community who have benefited directly from the outreach provided by music therapy. They are passionate in their commitment to this program.

However, given the very real and very difficult resource challenges the university is facing, I have reached the conclusion that elimination of music therapy is the correct course of action.

It was a question of resources that was put to the department of music and theatre arts for consideration. It was the same question at the core of the Senate debate and vote. The sad fact is that since 2001, UW-Eau Claire has been operating on $5.7 million less per year than would have been the case without budget reductions. The alternative to making decisions like this one, however painful, is a potentially gradual slide of our programs into something less than excellence. That is not a future over which I intend to preside.

I appreciate the thorough and thoughtful deliberations regarding the future of music therapy. Students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members contributed to the discussion and debate, which was conducted with respect, not rancor. That is not to say the process proceeded without difficulties, but that is often the case when an organization like ours addresses substantive issues. I feel confident that all interested parties were given numerous opportunities to share information and opinions.

Throughout this process, it has been clear that music therapy faculty, students and alumni are talented, intelligent, creative and passionate. The music therapy program and all those who have been associated with it have contributed greatly to UW-Eau Claire's heritage of excellence. We will continue to support the program through the graduation of the incoming class.

Chancellor Brian Levin-Stankevich

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