School of Music Accreditation Renewed

By Dan Verderosa, February 11, 2019
IC music school receives high marks from the National Association of Schools of Music.

The Ithaca College School of Music’s accreditation has been renewed by the National Association of Schools of Music, the primary U.S. accreditor for higher education in music. The renewed accreditation will run through the 2027-28 academic year.

“The School of Music’s membership in the National Association of Schools of Music signifies the important role we play in a vast community of schools of music — hundreds of us — who have been working to advance the cause of music since our country began,” said Karl Paulnack, dean of the School of Music. “The comments we received during the reaccreditation review allude to the leadership role we hold in that community. While we are very pleased to have been found to meet all standards for accreditation, we view membership not simply as a stamp of approval, but as a symbol of our dedication to the larger community of practice to which we all belong.”

In its accreditation report, the National Association of Schools of Music highlighted a number of the School of Music’s strengths, including:

  • A legacy of commitment to music, musicians, and the education of superb music educators
  • A willingness to discuss the future of music and music education in the context of demographic change in America, and to do so positively and imaginatively
  • An administration committed to the School of Music as one of Ithaca College’s defining strengths
  • A rigorous commitment to classical musicianship skills, as evidenced by an uncommonly large number of excellent full-time music theory and aural skills faculty
  • An institutional pride in the music faculty’s ability to help student learn
  • A clear commitment to inclusion, in all of its forms, as a cornerstone of academic and musical excellence
  • A robust range of partnerships in communities at the local, regional and national levels
  • An engaged student body, willing to ask profound questions, and help craft advances

According to Paulnack, more than 90 percent of schools applying for reaccreditation are deferred for a year or more while they address questions raised during the process. The IC School of Music’s accreditation was renewed for 10 years without deferral. “Very few schools are reaccredited for 10 years on their first pass through the Commission on Accreditation, and we’re very proud that the Ithaca College School of Music was one of those exceptional institutions,” said Paulnack.

As part of the reaccreditation process, the School of Music was required to hold an hour-long concert demonstrating the range of student performing abilities across all classes and all majors. While most schools seeking accreditation tightly control preparations of such concerts, handpicking the best students to perform, the IC School of Music trusted students to organize the event themselves.

“I knew I could entrust our students with this kind of project and that if I did, the result would be more creative and satisfying than anything we could arrange,” said Paulnack.

The National Association of Schools of Music said that IC’s concert “demonstrated an institutional commitment to student leadership and risk-taking, and was filled with spirited performances.”

The National Association of Schools of Music is an organization of schools, conservatories, colleges and universities with approximately 643 accredited institutional members. It establishes national standards for undergraduate and graduate degrees and other credentials for music and music-related disciplines, and provides assistance to institutions and individuals engaged in artistic, scholarly, educational and other music-related endeavors.