Uni’s music programme survives
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.