VanderCook College of Music Equity & Enrollment Diversification Plan
The mission of VanderCook College of Music is to enrich the lives of present and future generations by developing uniquely skilled music teachers who exhibit strong character, professionalism, and a commitment to excellence.
Founded in 1909, VanderCook College of Music is the only institution in the United States exclusively focused on music teacher education. VanderCook alumni teach music to individuals in grade school through college levels. There is an alumnus of the College working in every state in the nation and internationally in over 15 countries. Over 10,000 future and practicing music educators have either graduated from one of the College’s degree programs or completed advanced, graduate-level coursework through the College’s continuing education program. The influence of the College resonates in schools and communities worldwide, where graduates and continuing education participants strive to enrich the lives of children and community members through music performance, creation, and listening.
Today, VanderCook serves prospective and practicing music teachers through the following academic programs:
• Bachelor of Music Education degree program (BMEd)
• Bachelor of Music (pre-certification) degree program (BMpc)
• Bachelor of Music in Performance and Pedagogy degree program (BMped)
• Teacher Certification Entitlement Program (TCEP) (This is a licensure program, not a degree program.)
• Master of Music Education degree program (MMEd)
• Master of Music Education and Certification (MCert) This is not a separate degree. This program combines the MMEd degree with requirements for becoming a certified music teacher.
VanderCook is uniquely positioned to bring meaningful change to the field of music education through an increased diversified alumni base. Each VanderCook graduate will be entering the field as a music educator in some capacity. As we work to increase the number of graduates of color, we recognize the impact this change will have on the future. Through music, we can offer the students of our graduates a meaningful musical experience rich in culture, and influenced by the perspectives of our diverse graduates.
VanderCook’s Goals for Recruitment & Retention of Students of Color
VanderCook College of Music will set two enrollment diversification goals, one for recruitment and one for retention, using the following format.
Diversity Recruitment Goal:
By 2023-2024, over the next three years, our program will have increased the percentage of candidates of color who enroll in our program by 3 percentage points, from 45% to 48%.
● By the first year, 2021-2022, our program will have increased by 1 % of
candidates of color who enroll in our program by 1 point to 46%.
● By the second year, 2022-2023, our program will have increased the percentage of candidates of color who enroll in our program by 1 point to 47%.
● By the third year, 2023-2024, our program will have increased the percentage of candidates of color who enroll in our program by 1 point to 48%.
Because VanderCook is currently meeting the suggested state diversity target rate of
45%, we will commit to a modest increase in diversity but a concentrated effort in retention.
Diversity Retention Goal:
Over the next three years, our program will have increased the retention of candidates of color. For the entering undergraduate classes of fall 2018, fall 2019, and fall 2020, 67% of candidates returned for a second year of study, excluding White students. Our goal will be to increase this number by 7 percentage points, to 74%.
● After a three-year effort by, 2025-2026, our program will have increased the first year retention of candidates of color by 3 percentage points to 70%
● By 2026-2027, our program will have increased the first-year retention of candidates of color by 5 percentage points to 72%.
● By 2027-2028, our program will have increased the first-year retention of candidates of color by 7 percentage points to 74%.
VanderCook Strategy to Achieve Diversity Goals
In order to increase enrollment of students of color, the institution must adjust strategies
in recruitment and retention. Additional resources will need to be available to support
this effort. Open communication in faculty and staff meeting will be encouraged to
create a sense of urgency and to draw from ideas of our diverse team. In addition, VanderCook has assembled a Diversity and Inclusion Task Force to keep the issue at the highest priority.
Investing in resources to attract and keep students of color.
VanderCook has discussed ways to dedicate new resources toward a more diverse
community. They include but are not limited to the following:
The college launched a new website in January 2022. The marketing committee aimed to demonstrate the depth of diversity and sense of family on our campus. All the pictures used on the site and all publication capture the essence of our diverse community. These are pictures of actual students; we do not use stock photography.
We have invested in additional third-party resources to continue our efforts in this area.
VanderCook’s One City Jazz and One City Strings Programs provide music education
to students of color in some of the city’s most underserved areas. The majority of participants in this program are students of color. When children have access to quality music instruction, the positive impact can be life-changing.
VanderCook’s One City program helps to make sure all children have access to high quality musical instruments and outstanding music education. VanderCook students are
heavily involved with this program. They serve as the instructors and help organize the logistics of the program. One City also helps with recruitment. A long-term goal we
hope to realize would be to have a strong enough impact on these young musicians to inspire them to become future VanderCook students. The potential to create a longlasting
legacy with a lineage of diversity in the One City program would be a wonderful way to highlight the significance of music education among a diverse population. Just
last year, we added One City Strings, showing promise of the same success.
Faculty & Staff
A new full-time position has been allocated to increase student retention. This will focus on structured communication with the student body throughout the year. Increase
resources in the following areas:
● Increased engagement between the time of written commitment to the start of classes.
● Clear description of expectations for year academic year
● Increase in communal gatherings, trust-building, and student bonding events
● Access to mental health resources
● Designated advocate for student grievances
● Support for students after graduation as alumni
Expand Reach for Prospective Students
In addition to expanding our regional reach, we will look nationally and globally to recruit students outside of our targeted areas. We have identified some simple changes we can implement immediately
• Visibility of a diverse community in advertising.
• Increase number of underserved communities in recruitment visits and outreach events.
• Include new target areas to search for talent in new areas for recruitment
(Churches with large gospel influence)
• New outreach festivals tailored to students in these areas.
• Diverse Mentor program