An Update for our Alumni from Jay Dorfman

POSTED: Dec. 07, 2020

Dear Music Education Alumni,

Thriving. Flourishing. Amazing. 

This is how I characterize the current state of the Music Education programs at Kent State. Despite the challenges of the last year, I am so pleased to report that we remain a division that pushes the boundaries of music education, from the earliest undergraduate experiences to the most advanced doctoral work.

For the first time in many years, we have a music education faculty with the kind of diverse and broad expertise that prepares future teachers for just about anything they might encounter. We work incredibly well together, we have deep and sustained relationships with teachers in schools, and we care sincerely about the students in our programs.. I am so pleased to work with Dr. Wendy K. Matthews, Dr. Herbert “Butch” Marshall, Dr. Craig Resta, Dr. Chris Venesile, and Professor Kristin Coen-Mishlan every day to shape music education in our region and beyond. We are also incredibly lucky to have a group of part-time and emeritus faculty who contribute invaluably, especially to our online Master of Music in music education program. 

Our undergraduate program is a cutting-edge degree. We have made changes to the degree plan in the last couple of years that reflect the diversity of the student body and those who might join us in the future. I’m pleased to say that our job placement rate hovers around 90%. This includes several students who have continued their studies in performance degrees, which shows the continued importance we place on outstanding musical development during the undergraduate years. Area teachers love to have our students in their classrooms for fieldwork and student teaching because they are thoughtful, kind, eager, musical people.

We believe our fully online Master of Music in Music Education program to be the largest of its kind. About 700 students have graduated from the program in just over 10 years, and they are making a real impact in classrooms across the country. The program offers practical coursework that can be applied in classrooms the next day. Changes to the curriculum of this degree include updated courses that include the most recent thinking in the field, and opportunities for students to come to campus for one-week intensives over the summers. We have already offered intensive courses in Rock Band Pedagogy and Jazz Pedagogy. We expect to build a rotating menu of summer intensives, and also include popular classes such as Orff levels. These enriching courses are not required to complete the degree but allow for students in the program to come to campus and engage in experiential, focused study of a special topic. 

The Doctor of Philosophy in Music Education program is among the most storied and influential of its kind. Graduates of the Ph.D. program are in important music education positions at all levels around the globe. Our current program features comprehensive coursework; a close relationship with our colleagues in the College of Education, Health, and Human Services; and outstanding preparation for a variety of post-Ph.D. career paths. There are currently 18 students in the program including several on a full-time basis with competitive graduate assistantships.

The cherry on top of all of our current programs is our incredible group of alumni. We are so proud of you. We boast about you and the difference you make in the lives of young people. If you are in the area of campus and would like to visit, please be in touch. We would love to have you share your experiences with our current students. We do our best to make you proud of your Kent State education. Make sure to also save the date for our upcoming Virtual Alumni and Friends reception to be held on Friday, Feb. 5 at 6:15 p.m. I look forward to seeing many of you soon, virtually and hopefully in person in summer 2021. 

Go Flashes!
Jay Dorfman, Ph.D.
Coordinator of Music Education
Glauser School of Music