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Music Industry Town Hall continues conversation between students and faculty

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Music Industry Town Hall continues conversation between students and faculty

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By Ysabelle Kempe, news correspondent

Music industry students and staff alike gathered for a town hall on Oct. 19 in Shillman Hall to discuss the future of the  program at Northeastern. The meeting was a product of a petition written by third-year music industry major Cairo Marques-Neto, which garnered 320 signatures and sought to create a more robust dialogue between students and faculty within the program.

Leading the meeting were music professor and Department Chair Daniel S. Godfrey and Music Department Head Advisor Allen Feinstein. Godfrey said he acknowledged there is not enough communication in music industry between students and staff, taking partial responsibility for not facilitating annual town halls.  

“Oh my god, I need to be talking to the students, I hardly know most of you,” Godfrey said.  “I don’t want to make excuses. I want to have a candid discussion.”  

The first question was raised by Emmett Dwyer, a first-year music industry student, who brought up rumors that Northeastern was phasing out the music industry program.

Godfrey said  program was not going to be removed from Northeastern’s curriculum. As Northeastern has grown, he said, the demographic of the College of Arts, Media and Design, or CAMD, has changed and the method of portfolio review for incoming students has lowered the acceptance rate for music industry majors.

“Two years ago, music industry made up 90 percent of CAMD’s program; now, it makes up 75 percent of the program,” Godfrey said.  “It just happened that two faculty retired and two or three decided to resign at the same time.”  

Godfrey went on to say that although there were only three electives offered this semester, that was not indicative of how many there would be in the future. He assured students that seven electives would be offered in the spring semester. He also said the college was in the process of hiring more staff, and he just talked to CAMD Dean Elizabeth Hudson about assembling a task force of students to have a say in decisions regarding the program.

Associate professor and Director of Music Industry Leon Janikian cut in and said he would like to have a stronger connection to those in charge as well.

“I wish that we had better communication with the dean and I don’t feel that we do right now. I haven’t met the dean, and I will take that a little upon myself,” Janikian said. “I am very confident that we have good people and that we will have good people. Everyone who left, left of their own free will, not because they don’t have a Ph.D.”

Munashe Majuru, a third-year music industry major, said students were concerned that Northeastern was hiring music industry professors with little experience in the field simply because of the prestige of their Ph.D. titles.

“I want to make sure you are treating the candidates for hire with the same portfolio review as you use for students,” Majuru said.  “I want to make sure you are taking into account experience and education.”

Godfrey responded with the possibility of having a student task force give input on potential hirees and said he agreed that experience is valuable when hiring new professors.

“A lot of people in the music industry don’t have to go and get a doctorate; experience is their doctorate,” he said. “We have to shift from getting someone out of the field and into the classroom.”

Michelle Houle, a fourth-year music industry major, said she was frustrated that some music industry classes were in random locations without adequate resources.

“I had a music industry class in the Mugar Life Sciences building,” she said. “It’s frustrating when you have a class that needs a piano and you don’t have one.”

Godfrey said he hopes Ryder Hall will become primarily CAMD, but also said the main hurdle was funding, a common issue in academia.

As it neared 4 p.m. and the meeting came to a close, Godfrey spoke on what was going to change. He suggested the idea of involving the Student Government Association (SGA) in the music industry program and asked for regular town halls to the approving nods of many in the audience.

“More meetings would be better,” Janikan said afterwards. “I hope we have them more often.”

Marques-Neto, who created the petition, agreed and said he thought the meeting was very effective.  

“No matter how many people you have protesting, nothing will happen until you have the conversation like the one in this room,” Marques-Neto said. “This most likely won’t affect me. This is about the upcoming classes; this is about being thankful for studying music industry — the people in here are passionate about it.”

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Music Industry Town Hall continues conversation between students and faculty