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Where the most Inspired Musicians
become the most Inspiring Music Teachers

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VanderCook's Strategic Vision

Strategic Planning

The future is highly variable, and the world of higher education is ever-changing. At VanderCook, great lengths are taken to ensure we are ready for new challenges we’ll face as an institution. This preparedness relies in part on strategic planning, a systematic and rational approach to achieving our goals.

Our Vision

  • To offer a college education that is singular in its dedication to excellence in music teacher education.
  • To provide a curriculum that is comprehensive and pragmatic.
  • To nurture graduates recognized for their musical excellence, professionalism, strong character and respect for the essential role of music in our culture.
  • To prepare teachers able to instill a lifelong love and appreciation for music in children and to empower the arts in our communities.
  • To offer anyone with the dream and passion for sharing the gift of music the opportunity to develop the skills necessary to begin the journey, regardless of extensive prior training in the field.
  • To provide a strong, supportive community to nurture the musicianship of each individual student.

Strategic Goals

In order to act on our vision and our mission, we have set five strategic goals for our institution. These are not static goals meant only for completion; rather, they are ideals we strive towards and hold ourselves to.

Goal 1: Academics and Innovation

Advance the quality, relevance and tradition of VanderCook’s curricula to expand its reputation as a leader in music education.

Key Strategies

  1. Maintain and monitor the content and delivery of an outstanding, high-quality curriculum.
  2. Implement innovative academic programs that respond to the market by developing new BM degrees for music education, music performance, arts leadership, music pedagogy and/or entrepreneurism.
  3. Engage accrediting agencies, music associations and other stakeholders to provide regular feedback to assure we implement best practices and important trends in music education into our curriculum.
  4. Establish processes for evaluating and improving VCM’s standing within centers of influence, agencies and stakeholders (e.g., music education community, greater Chicago cultural community, etc.).
  5. Invest in online programs that highlight VCM faculty and programs with the intention of becoming a leader in online music education.
  6. Maintain a high level of student proficiency by establishing processes for measuring academic and educational outcomes on a qualitative and quantitative basis.
  7. Increase experiential learning by expanding internship and student teaching opportunities.
  8. Increase graduation rates and maintain high job placement rates.

Goal 2: Community and Culture

Cultivate and sustain a vibrant and welcoming educational community at VanderCook

Key Strategies

  1. Enrich VanderCook’s long-standing tradition of providing excellent, highly personalized instruction.
  2. Stress unity of purpose while respecting the broad diversity of our faculty, staff, students and alumni.
  3. Better leverage our relationship with IIT to more fully promote the IIT campus experience.
  4. Highlight and better leverage the experience of IIT students who participate in VanderCook’s musical ensembles, classes and organizations.
  5. Promote the IIT campus experience.
  6. Promote the achievements of student organizations, ensembles and music groups with an emphasis on VCM programs and service to others.
  7. Promote the idea that we prepare students so that they may lead a good life: They are preparing for a career and a lifestyle that is made more meaningful through the experience of making music.
  8. Develop a plan for ensuring that our classrooms, facilities and technologies are competitive with what our peers offer, and are attractive and inspiring to students and staff.

Goal 3: Awareness

Establish VanderCook as the music education school of choice.

Key Strategies

  1. Establish a comprehensive, coordinated branding, marketing and communications plan that integrates all programs and is consistent, complementary and strategic.
  2. Upgrade and enhance VCM’s digital communication (website, video channel and social media) to stress the college’s core values and to highlight unique aspects of the academic, community and cultural experiences.
    • Use social media, video and other forms of digital communication to enhance community, unity and a sense of belonging at VanderCook.
    • Create more synergy and integration with IIT as part of the entire college experience.
    • Emphasize and communicate VCM’s core values at all levels of the college.
    • Promote the achievements of student organizations, ensembles and music groups with an emphasis on VCM programs and service to others.
    • Emphasize the impact of the college on schools and communities worldwide.
3. Enhance and focus our recruiting efforts.
  • Recruit 40 undergraduate students to the college each academic year by the year 2020 (“40 by 20”).
  • Increase the enrollment and engagement of IIT students in the college’s academic classes and ensembles.
  • Develop a strategic approach to high school recruiting focusing on schools where students have attended VanderCook and gone on to a successful career, or where graduates of VanderCook now teach, with a priority given to graduates of the undergraduate program.
  • Leverage our internal scholarship program to recruit students from Chicago Public Schools and our recruitment schools.
  • Broaden our outreach to local K-12 schools, to the Chicago music community, and globally.

Goal 4: Leadership

Attract, inspire and retain faculty, staff, administrators and trustees
who embrace VanderCook’s vision and values by being a catalyst for
creativity, leadership, collaboration, and lifelong professional development.

Key Strategies

  1. Implement an annual survey of faculty, staff, administrators and trustees to establish baseline levels of satisfaction and engagement, and to solicit ideas for improvement.
  2. Institute annual reviews of staff and faculty job descriptions.
  3. Establish metrics for engagement of full-time and adjunct faculty to ensure effective use of resources.
  4. Establish an incentive system that financially rewards excellence in teaching and service to the college, its mission and its students.

Goal 5: Stewardship

Enhance VanderCook’s sustainability through financial discipline, strategic
planning, prudent investments, cultivation of major grants and donors,
and effective stewardship of the college’s reputation and resources.

Key Strategies

  1. Establish a fundraising plan that includes cultivating large gifts and grant-writing efforts to fund strategic projects.
  2. Establish a detailed plan for upgrading VCM’s technology and facilities.
  3. Establish a more intentional and consistent outreach to the vast corporate and community foundations in Chicago that support the arts.
  4. Establish endowed chairs in major departments to attract and retain key faculty members.
  5. Maintain a strategic planning process that sets broad, objective metrics for measuring effectiveness in executing and accomplishing the goals set forth in the plan.
  6. Develop a dashboard of Critical Success Factors to be presented to the board of trustees on a quarterly basis, comparing actual results with budgeted and strategic goals using quantifiable and measurable financial and operational statistics.
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3140 South Federal Street
Chicago, IL 60616-3731
(312) 225-6288

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.

© 2024 VanderCook College of Music. All Rights Reserved.
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