CMU Master Of Music Education Gets Additional Accreditation

First students graduated in spring 2016

January 12, 2017

The first group of students earning the Master of Music Education (MME) at Central Methodist University graduated in May 2016. Following on the heels of that landmark comes another one: full accreditation by the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM).

Although the program was already accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, the approval by NASM is very important, according to Dr. Dori Waggoner, associate professor of music and dean of the Swinney Conservatory of Music at CMU.

“It is very important to become accredited by NASM,” Waggoner said. “Affiliation with the NASM association holds all its members to a high standard of educational quality.”

CMU applied for NASM accreditation early in the program, but final approval is not given until the graduation of the first students from the program. In May, Central’s initial class of nine graduated, completing the last piece of the NASM puzzle.

In Central’s MME program, a group or “cohort” of students takes three or four classes per summer in a hybrid format, part online and part on campus. For each class, they spend a total of nine or ten days on campus. Waggoner calls them a “community of scholars.” During their times together, she says, they have homework, discussions, and a chance to become friends and colleagues.

Teaching the classes are four CMU music professors — Dr. Waggoner, Dr. Claude Westfall, associate professor of music and director of choral activities, Dr. Ron Atteberry, adjunct professor of music, and Prof. Roy “Skip” Vandelicht, associate professor of music and director of bands. Additional professors teach as needed.

“The four primary professors all have public school teaching experience.  Altogether, it adds up to well over 100 years of service as music educators,” Waggoner pointed out. “It adds a level of practicality to the music program.”

During their final year, students write a Master’s Report, which incorporates the practical application of all concepts to their teaching, from philosophy to daily lesson plans. Waggoner said, “In their report, they also do a weekly reflection of their lesson plans and musings on how applying these elements into their teaching in their own rooms works or doesn’t.  They have the opportunity to demonstrate their mastery of all the concepts learned in the program.”

During that year, students present one specific concert that incorporates all the elements studied, plus a self-analysis of the concert. When possible, their adviser attends the concert; otherwise, a video recording is used.

Central has completed four summers of study with more than 30 students thus far, both vocal and instrumental educators and teaching throughout the grades K-12 spectrum.

“Our students are our best advertising,” Waggoner stated. “Their positive experience leads them to encourage others to go through the same program.”