YSU School of Music cuts four majors amid budget crisis

The Youngstown State University School of Music has announced that it will eliminate four of its majors starting from the fall semester of 2023. The decision comes as a result of the ongoing budget challenges faced by the university due to the COVID-19 pandemic and declining enrollment.

The four majors that will be discontinued are:

  • Bachelor of Music in Music Education
  • Bachelor of Music in Music Performance
  • Bachelor of Music in Music Theory and Composition
  • Bachelor of Music in Jazz Studies

These majors account for about 40% of the current students enrolled in the School of Music, according to the university’s website. The students who are already pursuing these majors will be allowed to complete their degrees, but no new admissions will be accepted.

YSU School of Music cuts four majors amid budget crisis
YSU School of Music cuts four majors amid budget crisis

The School of Music will continue to offer the Bachelor of Arts in Music, which is a more flexible and interdisciplinary program that allows students to combine music with other fields of study.

Reasons and reactions

The university said that the decision to cut the majors was based on several factors, including:

  • The low demand and enrollment for these majors, compared to the national and regional trends
  • The high cost and resource requirements for maintaining these majors, such as faculty, facilities, equipment, and accreditation
  • The need to align the School of Music’s offerings with the university’s strategic plan and mission

The university also said that it consulted with the faculty, staff, students, alumni, and external stakeholders before making the decision, and that it received “mixed feedback” from them.

Some of the affected students and faculty expressed their disappointment and frustration with the decision, saying that it will diminish the quality and reputation of the School of Music, and that it will limit the opportunities and choices for future students who want to pursue music as a career.

“I feel like they are taking away our dreams and our passions,” said one student who is majoring in music education.

“It’s a huge loss for the community and the region, because we have produced so many excellent musicians and educators who have contributed to the musical and cultural life of this area,” said one faculty member who teaches music theory and composition.

Future plans and alternatives

The university said that it will work with the affected students and faculty to provide them with support and guidance during the transition period, and that it will explore other ways to enhance the music education and experience at YSU.

Some of the possible options that the university is considering are:

  • Developing new minors and certificates in music that can complement other majors and disciplines
  • Expanding the online and hybrid courses and programs in music that can reach more students and audiences
  • Collaborating with other institutions and organizations to create joint and dual degree programs in music
  • Strengthening the partnerships and outreach with the local schools and communities to promote music education and appreciation

The university also said that it will continue to support and celebrate the achievements and activities of the School of Music, such as the concerts, recitals, festivals, and competitions that showcase the talents and skills of the students and faculty.

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