An Update from Dean Karl Paulnack

Dear School of Music Students,

Thank you for the great teamwork this past week as we all explore new ways of teaching and learning. I am encouraged by what I am hearing both from faculty leaders and the student government exec members. We know that everyone is working in less-than-ideal situations. Some of you are home with family members facing hardships, perhaps with a number of people in your household who are all trying to learn or work remotely. Faculty, too, are in some cases hindered by teaching from less than ideal environments. As we identify problems we can address, we are bringing resources to bear. Our Information Technology staff at Ithaca College have done an amazing job.

As of Mon. 3/30, we have surveyed music students and are shipping some of the smaller secondary instruments. The Office of Residential Life has been packing and shipping essential student belongings from dorm rooms. Students may request essential belongings by using the Property Retrieval Form.  We just finished polling School of Music students regarding essential items in Whalen lockers and will soon be taking on the task of trying to get important items reunited with their owners. The music theory and aural skills tutors continue to work with students individually; interested students may sign up here.

As this event unfolds, it is becoming clearer what the timeframe will look like, and I think it is now clear to all of us that we will be working remotely for the entire semester. We are continuing to meet almost daily to resolve outstanding issues—what to do about required recitals, to cite one example—and we will communicate possible options soon. I meet with the student government exec every Friday, and hope you will be in touch with your studio reps if you have ideas or solutions that have occurred to you.

The health officials in Tompkins County have done a remarkable job of isolating the illness, and I am happy to report that so far, we have had only a few reports of illness among our faculty and staff. I am grateful to report they seem to be on the road to recovery. We certainly are doing our best to maintain distancing and keep everyone home. I know that many of you, like us, are finding this time incredibly difficult, and I hope you are finding community and human engagement in new ways.

I think everyone, faculty, staff, and students, understands and appreciates that everyone is doing the very best they can, which is all we can ever do. Musicians tend to be overachievers; please do what you can to relax your expectations of yourself, and others, during this time.

I wish you strength and health in the days ahead.

Kind regards,

Karl Paulnack, Dean
School of Music