Uni’s mu­sic pro­gramme sur­vives

Waikato News - - NEWS -

Pro­posed cuts to the Univer­sity of Waikato’s mu­sic depart­ment have­been ac­cepted — but in a much wa­tered-down ver­sion than an­tic­i­pated.

When the cuts were an­nounced at the be­gin­ning of last year it caused con­sid­er­able alarm among the mu­sic fra­ter­nity in the re­gion.

An out­cry from the pub­lic led to a sup­port group for the Con­ser­va­to­rium be­ing formed and a sub­mis­sion was made on April 26 last year.

In June, the group was al­lowed five min­utes to speak with Chan­cel­lor Jim Bol­ger to put for­ward their case.

Since then noth­ing had been heard from the univer­sity.

Rus­sell Ar­mitage, sec­re­tary of the sup­port group, met with vicechan­cel­lor Neil Quigley re­cently for up­date.

“One po­si­tion has been dis­es­tab­lished,” Mr Ar­mitage said.

“This is in com­puter mu­sic and was done due to those pa­pers never reach­ing their ca­pac­ity in stu­dent num­bers in re­cent years. The staff mem­ber will be re­tained on a part-time ba­sis for one year to com­plete su­per­vi­sion of doc­toral stu­dents.”

“A new vis­it­ing artist po­si­tion has been cre­ated to pro­vide a course in con­tem­po­rary mu­sic and broaden the Mu­sic Depart­ment’s ca­pa­bil­i­ties.”

The univer­sity has also re­duced the hours of its three aca­demic po­si­tions in pi­ano, vi­o­lin and cello.

“Although there will be a dif­fer­ence in the num­ber of stu­dents for each in­stru­ment, this was done so that these im­por­tant aca­demic po­si­tions were treated equally.

“In time, as work­loads are as­sessed, this may be able to be changed,” Mr Ar­mitage said.

“Given the dire pre­dic­tions that were made last year, about the fu­ture of Waikato Univer­sity’s much-loved Mu­sic Depart­ment, due mainly to lack of in­for­ma­tion and the time needed to make de­ci­sions, this out­come is quite a lot bet­ter than was ex­pected,” he said.

“The loss of one full-time po­si­tion, in such an al­ready small depart­ment, is re­gret­table and I know many of you will be sorry about that.

“How­ever, with the Mu­sic Depart­ment’s fu­ture now se­cure and a strat­egy for in­creas­ing stu­dent num­bers the out­look has to be one of op­ti­mism.”

The new Con­venor of the Mu­sic Depart­ment, Rachel Grif­fiths Hughes, says she and her col­leagues are com­mit­ted to work with these changes.

They will be tak­ing a busi­ness as usual ap­proach at the Con­ser­va­to­rium for the fu­ture, and will of­fer all the ex­ist­ing pa­pers and a full Bach­e­lor of Mu­sic de­gree as in the past.

One of the bur­dens for the small staff num­bers at the Mu­sic Depart­ment, which has one of the high­est PhD ra­tios in the Arts Fac­ulty, is the ad­min­is­tra­tive work re­quired, she said.

“I un­der­stand there will be a full-time ad­min­is­tra­tor ap­pointed next month.

“This is ex­cel­lent news and it is hoped this will ease the load on teach­ing staff and al­low them to de­vote more time to what they are there for and best at — mu­sic.”

“In ad­di­tion to this it should be noted that Dr Martin Lodge has been made a pro­fes­sor. This is very pos­i­tive news as it means there is at last a pro­fes­sor in the creative and per­form­ing arts sec­tor.

“It bodes well for the fu­ture and I think demon­strates the vice-chan­cel­lor’s com­mit­ment to the Con­ser­va­to­rium of Mu­sic.”

Given the dire pre­dic­tions that were made last year . . . this out­come is quite a lot bet­ter than was ex­pected.

Rus­sell Ar­mitage

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