Published: Sept. 19, 2016 By

dean shay speaking

Dean Shay addresses alumni before the April 2016 Boettcher Showcase Concert.

The College of Music continues its push toward a bigger, bolder and brighter future for music at the University of Colorado Boulder.

And it’s a journey the college’s many stakeholders are embarking on together.

Dubbed the “College of Music Advantage,” the college’s 10-year strategic plan was unanimously approved by faculty and subsequently endorsed by staff and the Music Advisory Board in early 2016.

In his third year at the helm of the college, Dean Robert Shay says the support the plan has received can be largely attributed to the way it was drawn up.

“It was important that this was a homegrown plan,” Shay explains. “Early on, we developed a sense of it being our collaborative effort with everyone having a stake in it. The priorities flowed organically from a series of conversations among many constituents.”

Those priorities—which will be presented publicly before the CU Symphony Orchestra concert this Friday, Sept. 23—include everything from increasing student and curricular diversity to expanding the College of Music’s footprint with newly renovated spaces on campus.

Shay says the college is poised to get off to a great start.   

“A critical time in the strategic planning process is between approval and the beginning of implementation. We have now developed action plans for each year, determined who will be in the driver’s seat for each initiative and decided on necessary resources and deliverables so we can measure our progress effectively.”

In the first year of the plan’s implementation, the College of Music will see several of its top students and ensembles travel to New York’s famed Carnegie Hall for a showcase concert in Weill Recital Hall this November.

The appearance, along with the April 2016 Boettcher Showcase Concert in Denver, represent a major goal of the plan: to connect student success to professional achievement.

“These opportunities not only give students a chance to perform in some of the nation’s greatest venues but also grow our presence in major urban centers,” Shay says.

Other projects on tap over the next few years—such as the creation of a bachelor’s degree in music with a media and technology emphasis and the expansion of the Musicians’ Wellness Program—are part of the college’s goal to provide more than performance opportunities for students.

“We want to deliver a well-rounded education for all our students, whether they are earning performance or academic-based degrees such as music education,” Shay explains, “though for all students we need to be sure we’re including value-adding experiences that position them for professional success.”

Also coming down the pike are enhanced alumni resources, an annual distinguished lectureship on diversity and inclusion in music and the establishment of a student professional development travel initiative.

As the college looks toward its 2020 centennial, Shay says it’s crucial that administration, faculty and staff not rest on their laurels. “Any successful organization must always be thinking ahead several years and anticipating changes.”

That rings especially true for music in higher education.

“In music, it’s a critical time. So many of the previous conceptions of music education and music careers have been changing rapidly, and this plan allows us to position ourselves as being on the forefront of preparing musicians who will be the leaders of tomorrow.”

The public is invited to learn more about the “College of Music Advantage” this Friday at 8 p.m. at Macky Auditorium before the first CU Symphony Orchestra concert of the year. You can also find more information on the website and read more in the 2016 edition of Colorado Music Magazine, coming in October.