Terms of Reference, June 2007

Dear Colleagues,

At today's faculty meeting the attached guidelines for our Academic Program Review -- Self Study were approved. We also welcomed Dr Eddy Campbell, Vice-President (Academic), Dr Doreen Neville, Associate Vice-President (Academic), and Ms. Robyn Saunders, APR Coordinator to our meeting. Ms. Saunders' office will assist us in the logistics of effecting the review while Dr Neville will serve as Dean of Record. Dr Campbell spoke to the value of the APR exercise, noting that resource allocations are often tied to the planning priorities that emerge from a well-considered review process. The experience of the School of Music across the last five years has certainly borne this out.

Today's meeting marks the official launch of our APR and we are well-positioned to undertake the key self-study process in earnest once we're all back in place in September. With the vast majority of us heavily committed through the summer to professional and research activities, balanced by some well-deserved down-time, it would be counterproductive to try to begin the self-study now. But there are a number of individual decisions that each of us could make or small tasks to undertake that would assist in being ready to roll in September.

CVs

Complete and up-to-date CVs are required of all full-time and tenure-track faculty for inclusion in the self-study package. This will permit evaluators to make general assessments about our individual research / creation profiles and the overall complementarity of expertise in the School. At our January 23rd Faculty Meeting we reviewed the appended CV template and agreed that we could all use this format for the current APR exercise. There are relatively few revisions on this one from the template used in 2001 so if you've kept a current CV using this template you'll have little new work to do. I would request that all faculty have current CVs for inclusion in this APR to me electronically no later than 1 September. If you have any concerns about how to reflect some aspect of your work using this template, don't hesitate to contact me.

Self-Study Working Groups

For our 2001 APR we constituted eight working groups, each mandated to draft one "chapter" of the self-study. Each chapter set out to address one of the key areas in the self-study outline, providing a cursory summary of current and past situations, responding to the questions posed in the guidelines and hypothesizing some directions for the future. Groups determined their own process and methodology -- many favouring a combination of documentation, comparative research with other institutions, intra-School surveys and reflection. The drafts were then circulated with the School population for response and then returned to the groups to be edited in collaboration between the working group and the Director. The chapters were reassembled to a pre-final draft which was then shopped through a couple of dedicated faculty meetings. Though this process is somewhat demanding, it yielded a result in which everyone could see their views, visions and concerns reflected. An important factor in achieving this was in striving to have a balance of representation on each working group. In 2001 this meant that each group included one "senior" and one "less senior" faculty member, one staff member and one student. I would like to propose a similar working method this time. It has the advantage of tackling each of the big questions (e.g., planning, teaching & learning, research/creation, outreach, resources, etc.) from broadly representative perspectives. Of course, the result is improved if each of us has an opportunity to contribute to the discussion of a general topic that is of particular interest to us. Even though we won't begin this work until the Fall, I'd like to set up the working groups over the summer and would ask each faculty and staff member to indicate to me, in priority order, three of the following working groups which you might be interested in serving on. You can refer to the self-study guidelines for an elaboration of the kinds of questions that each group will be exploring.

  • Strategic Objectives
  • Student Enrolment / Program Outcomes
  • Teaching and Learning: Curriculum
  • Research, Creative Activity and Scholarship
  • The School's Role in the Cultural Milieu
  • Facilities and Equipment
  • Administrative Support / Efficiency
  • Cost Effectiveness

Once I've received everyone's indications of preferences and have consulted with the SMS and the grad students about student representation, I'll circulate the working group composition. I'd like to receive your indication preferences before the end of July.

Evaluators

The centrepiece of the APR is the evaluator's review. The evaluation team is comprised of four impartial specialists -- two internal to Memorial and two external -- who review our self-study and all its supporting documentation and then conduct their own review during a site-visit which is usually of two days duration. Under the APR guidelines the unit has the responsibility to nominate evaluators. At least two from our list of nominees (one internal and one external) must be selected. The office of the Vice-President will choose the other two. We are entitled to submit a ranked list of possible evaluators. The two external evaluators should be experienced university-based musicians, music scholars or music administrators who can bring deep experience and informed judgement to the exercise. Ideally the internal evaluators will be colleagues from within MUN who have an understanding of the School and its activities. I would like to invite nominations for possible evaluators -- both internal and external. You may nominate more than one individual, but I would request that each nomination be accompanied by a (very) brief biographical sketch (I'm talking two or three sentences) which can be circulated when we open the nomination list for discussion. It can't be assumed that every nominee will be known to every colleague. We will compile the list of all nominees and hold an open discussion about them at a Faculty meeting early in the Fall. Following that discussion, we will establish a priority list of nominees based on a ballot procedure. I'd like to receive all nominations for evaluators before the end of August.

I look forward to working with each of you across this very productive undertaking.

Tom Gordon, 20 June 2007

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