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Budget plan strikes chord
EOU releases final plan for budget reductions; music degree will remain intact
Students considering studying music at Eastern Oregon University have received some good news — EOU’s music degree will remain intact.
This news can be found within the final version of the recently released University Sustainability Plan, which calls for between $2 million and $2.3 million in budget cuts and adjustments and will result in a total of 14.29 positions being cut at EOU because of budget difficulties.
A draft of the sustainability plan, released in May, proposed that a change be made in EOU’s music degree program. It recommended that Eastern’s bachelor of music degree be changed to a bachelor of arts degree with a music major.
EOU’s administrative team decided not to change the music degree after evaluating input on the first draft of the sustainability plan, said Eastern Provost Stephen Adkison.
“Feedback from the music faculty made the value of the bachelor of music degree clear,” Adkison said.
The input also made it clear that the bachelor of music degree is an important part of Eastern’s engagement with the community because students in the degree program must have extensive involvement in performances for the public and in music programs with community groups. This is important in the eyes of Adkison and EOU President Bob Davies because community engagement is part of Eastern’s mission.
“We are part of the cultural engine of the region,” Adkison said.
EOU Music Professor Peter Wordelman said he is very happy that the bachelor of music degree will remain in place.
“We are very relieved to keep it,” Wordelman said.
The professor said students with a bachelor of music degree will have more opportunities available to them than if they only had a bachelor of arts degree with a music major. Students will have a much easier time getting admitted into graduate school programs at other universities. Wordelman noted that the bachelor of music degree can easily be combined with degrees and majors in other disciplines. He noted that people with the degree have a good chance of going on to enter graduate programs in fields like ethnomusicology, which is the study of music in other cultures, and music therapy, the use of music to help people overcome conditions like brain injuries.
The sobering news for the EOU music program is that it will lose three faculty positions under the Sustainability Plan.
The University Sustainability Plan calls for no degree programs to be cut. However, it does call for about 10 minors and concentrations to be cut or reduced. Concentrations are areas of emphasis within a major. Minors to be cut or reduced include those for environmental chemistry, computer science, environmental studies, mathematics and the media arts and communication major.
Journalism is one of the minors for the media arts and communication major that will be cut. Davies said that despite this cut, journalism classes would still be taught at EOU and that its student newspaper, The Voice, will continue to be published.
Davies stressed that all students enrolled in programs previously offered will be able to remain in them and complete them.
“We will provide a pathway,” Davies said.
The changes the University Sustainability Plan will bring about are necessary because Eastern is on course to spend $1.2 million more than it will receive in revenue in 2012-13. EOU has projected to lose a similar amount in 2013-14 unless steps were taken to reverse its budget course.
Davies is confident the Sustainability Plan will put Eastern in a solid position in the future.
“In the end this will help us to continue to meet the needs of our students and the region and to retain our core values,” Davies said.
Davies said that changes the plan calls for will heighten Eastern’s effectiveness and efficiency.
“Most students will not notice any big differences,” Davies said.