Important Message from School Director Kent McWilliams

Director Kent McWilliams

Dear School of Music Community and Friends,

As you will have seen by now, Ohio's Governor DeWine has recommended that Ohio's colleges and universities temporarily suspend face-to-face instruction. Please let me begin by reassuring everyone that KSU takes the safety of its people very seriously and that the extraordinary measures taken by President Diacon have all been done in order to keep us all healthy and out of harm's way.

For detailed information about KSU's action, please read this website: https://www.kent.edu/coronavirus

I think that despite the difficulties this announcement has caused, the Kent State School of Music is in a very good position to help all students maintain a positive educational trajectory. As you may know, we are home to the nation's largest fully online MM in Music Education and our faculty are leaders in the area of virtual music education. They bring a wide array of expertise and experience to this problem, and I am fully confident in their ability to help all of us create an excellent learning experience for all of our students during this temporary situation when we will need to transition to remote instruction.

Important note - the University remains OPEN, although the way we operate will shift during the next little while.

A School of Music is unique in so many ways, and it will be vital for all of us to work together to assure that the education of our students remains paramount in our efforts. Each one of our students will have unique circumstances that will require us to creatively find ways to accommodate their individual situations. I look forward to working with all of you to find equitable solutions that will allow us to move forward with positive learning outcomes, even if things will not be 'business as usual' in the immediate future.

Please know that the changes implemented today will not impact your time to graduation or progress in your degree.

Please read below for some of the details that will affect the School of Music:

  • In order to keep you all safe, we will begin working remotely with you, so that your coursework remains continuous. The current restrictions are scheduled to continue until April 13.
  • Students are encouraged to go home during this time, if possible. Although the residence halls will remain open to those who need to stay, you will not have access to the School of Music classrooms and practice rooms as a precautionary measure.
  • Classes that are face-to-face will not meet on W., Th., or F. of this week as professors work to temporarily transition into remote instruction set to begin next Monday, March 16. Faculty will be working to revise syllabi so that learning outcomes are still met, but with adjusted and flexible expectations. I would ask all teachers and students to find ways to make this unexpected change work as well as possible to ensure the best delivery of your education in the coming weeks.
  • Classes that 100% online will not be affected, and will continue as normal.
  • All events need to be cancelled and although we will be working to consider rescheduling, we have to face the reality that many of our upcoming concerts will not be possible during the current semester. This includes all of our concerts and recitals - that hits us really hard! I understand how so many of you have been working toward culminating performances, and it pains me to see these things negatively affected; however, we need to follow the directives put in place to keep the community safe. Here again, I hope to work with faculty to see what sorts of viable alternatives can be developed to deliver good learning outcomes during this disruption.
  • Ticketed events will be refunded.
  • Continue to work with your academic advisors to register for the coming semesters. Please email your Academic Advisor so that your meeting can take place either virtually or on the phone.
  • There are to be no gatherings, so all meetings will need to take place virtually or on the phone. Please consider using Microsoft Teams to make these sorts of meetings happen. A potential side-effect of this crisis is that we may all soon be much more adept at using technology to navigate the world of virtual meetings.
  • We are all being asked to keep a social distance of at least 6 feet from one another.
  • Internships, including student teaching, will continue as per the regulations of the local institution. So, if you are currently a student teacher in a school that is operating, you should continue to fulfill your duties according to your local school principal.
  • All university-sponsored travel is cancelled. This affects several of our students and faculty very immediately. Many conferences have already been postponed, so we will need to work with organizers to arrange for any applicable refunds. Airlines have also been advertising flexibility due to the unusual circumstances.
  • During this time of disruption, faculty will be allowed to work in their offices.
  • The School of Music main office will also remain open, with staff maintaining the requisite 6 feet of distance in their working environments. There will be some staff doing work from their homes. We may also begin to set up staff offices in places other than the main office to avoid group contact.
  • We will continue to admit the incoming class, with auditions happening virtually instead of in person.
  • Doctoral defenses will need to occur virtually.

There are several important details regarding student workers:

  • Student hourly employees should not work on campus, but should consult their supervisors to find ways to continue their employment remotely.
  • Supervisors should enter the hours the students are scheduled to work per week into Empower so that they can get paid and not penalized (with the exception of spring break week)
  • Non-teaching graduate students should not work on campus.
  • Graduate teaching assistants should follow the guidelines for faculty and work with their supervising faculty to teach/assist remotely beginning Monday.

I would also like to express that I would love to hear from anyone who might have creative suggestions of how we might be able to best move forward within the parameters of our temporary reality.

Please don't hesitate to contact me, the School staff or your faculty should you have any questions during this time. I will stay in contact with you to keep you updated on the latest information.

Sincerely,
Kent McWilliams

POSTED: Wednesday, March 11, 2020 - 3:18pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, March 11, 2020 - 3:35pm