The School of Music, the Graduate School, and the University all have well-developed admissions procedures. Students must apply for admission to the university AND audition separately for admission to the School of Music. Both steps must be completed for a student to matriculate as a music major. The admission process in both the Office of Admissions (undergraduates) and the Graduate School (graduates) includes submission of an application and other documents (transcripts, test scores, etc.). International students have substantial additional documentation requirements and a significant amount of extra time is required to complete the application process.
The School of Music application includes a performance audition for all undergraduates and some graduate students. An interview and/or portfolio review may also be necessary. Diagnostic and placement testing for transfer and graduate students is required, as well. The Coordinator of Admissions and the Assistant Director/Coordinator of Graduate Studies have complete information on admissions procedures. It is essential that prospective students be encouraged to apply well in advance of University and School deadlines.
Undergraduate students register for 200-level applied instrumental/vocal study during their freshman and sophomore years. At the end of the fourth term of study, area faculty determine, usually via the jury, whether a student should be admitted to upper-level applied study. If the student is approved, the applied teacher should complete a Sophomore Competency Confirmation Form and send it to the Music Office. Office staff will not register a student for 300-level applied study if this form is not in the student's file.
Juries are performances evaluated by area applied faculty and function as a final examination for applied study. The evaluation by a group of faculty is a critical part of the jury process, and thus each faculty member is responsible for the evaluation of not only his/her own applied students, but of others in the area as well. Full-time faculty, even those with only a portion of their responsibilities in applied instruction, should participate in evaluation of all the area's juries. Full-time faculty who teach in more than one applied area should appropriately divide their participation between those areas. Part-time faculty should participate in the area's juries minimally in a proportion equal to the percentage of their appointment. Of course, participation beyond the minimal level benefits students and colleagues alike. As an example, if a faculty member holds a 50% appointment and area juries last two full days, that faculty member should participate in the evaluation of at least one full day of juries.
For any planned absences, professional or personal, that would impact juries, an NIU Request for Authorization to Travel and/or Absence from Regular Duties Form must be filed with, and approved by, the Director.
Approved by the Advisory Committee, 5/2/00
The faculty of the School of Music uses the audition and admissions process to assess each prospective student’s potential for success in a music degree program. In order to provide high-quality instruction and performance experiences, acceptance of music majors is limited and separate from the general University admissions process. Once accepted by the School of Music, it is the hope and expectation of the faculty of the School of Music that each student will graduate with a music degree from NIU. To that end, the efforts of the faculty and administration will be to support those students who demonstrate the desire, commitment, and talent sufficient to attain that goal.
Formal Audition Days for admission are usually scheduled at least one year in advance. Personal contact by faculty with prospective students and with those who influence them is very important. In order to operate most effectively we need your cooperation with the following:
Every applied faculty member should be available for Audition Days. This is an obligation that cannot be taken lightly. DO NOT accept engagements that conflict with these important days. Full-time studio faculty must submit a Request for Authorization to Travel if they have significant professional activities that conflict with an audition date.
Individual auditions on days other than the scheduled audition days should be reported in advance to the Coordinator of Admissions with complete and accurate information, including name, address, telephone, e-mail (if applicable), and instrument/voice.
Both jazz and classical faculty members must review auditions for the Jazz Studies major.
If an audition requires review by multiple faculty members and all cannot be present for a live audition, the audition must be recorded for later review by those who were not present. The Coordinator of Admissions has cassette recorders and tapes to be used for this purpose.
Approved by the faculty, 3/1/05
The undergraduate audition process will include a basic music literacy assessment administered and documented by the auditioning faculty member(s). Faculty will use the Assessment Tool provided in the faculty handbook or an equivalent method with similar documentation of the auditioning faculty member(s)’s choosing. In the case of a recorded audition, the auditioning student will be requested to provide a music teacher as a contact, who will objectively administer and document the basic music literacy assessment, using the tool provided by the School of Music.
DEAN'S AWARD (normally determined at March Faculty meeting and reported to the Dean's office)
A graduating senior (previous summer, fall or upcoming spring term) "who, in the opinion of the faculty, has exhibited exceptional academic work and leadership and who has made outstanding contributions to his/her school's programs and activities. One recipient is selected by the faculty of each school in the college."
SALLY STEVENS AWARD (normally determined at the March faculty meeting and reported to the Dean's office)
Our best "rising senior" (junior who can actually graduate in one more year) - "best" by both performance and GPA. In the case of a music ed student who is student teaching in the fall (their 9th semester) or spring (10th semester) and then graduating, they would be "rising" one year after the other students, and would be considered for the award during their FIRST senior year, rather than during their junior year. In other words, all students who will graduate during the following school year are to be considered.
When a student has satisfied work required to remove a grade of Incomplete (I) or when circumstances warrant the change of a grade given in an earlier term, the following procedures must be followed.
For UNDERGRADUATE grade changes, complete a CVPA Change of Grade Form and return it to the Music Office, which will then forward it to the Dean's Office.
For GRADUATE grade changes, complete a Graduate School Change of Grade Form and return it to the Music Office, which will then forward it to the Graduate School.
At the beginning of each term, every faculty member should view up-to-date rosters using the MyNIU site. Examine these carefully, and inform the Assistant Director if there are any discrepancies. Unfortunately, at the end of almost every term the office has to deal with situations where a faculty member has been teaching students who, for some reason, were never enrolled. In addition to being embarrassing for the faculty member (who ought to know who is enrolled for his or her courses), it requires a significant outlay of extra work for him or her since individual change-of-grade forms and late schedule updates have to be completed for each student.
Applied teachers should complete an Applied Studio Enrollment Confirmation Form and return it to the Music Office at the start of each term.
The school and college expect that approximately one-third of the faculty will participate, wearing appropriate academic garb, in University commencement exercises in May and December. This includes all full-time faculty members. Part-time faculty members are welcome and encouraged to participate.
School of Music faculty must prepare a syllabus each semester for every course taught, including applied lessons and ensembles, and current, electronic copies must be submitted to the Music Office for online posting. PAPER COPIES WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED. A syllabus outline and syllabus guidelines are included in the appendices.
Syllabi are required and reviewed as part of the annual merit evaluation process by the Personnel Committee and the Director of the School of Music. Only syllabi on file in the Music Office will be used for the merit evaluation process, so it is essential that all syllabi are on file and are current for each semester.
N.B., The annual Faculty Service Report text states, "Syllabi are required to contain the following components: Objectives of the course, An outline of the course content, Methods of evaluating student achievement, A listing of primary and supplementary resource material, as appropriate, A listing of office hours or other means of office access."
Syllabi addressing requirements for more than one course in a single document must clearly differentiate between requirements for the different course levels. Except in the case of ensembles, the course requirements cannot be identical for different levels, even if an instructor provides instruction simultaneously to multiple levels. An instructor who provides instruction simultaneously to undergraduate and graduate students must be a member of the graduate faculty, so a graduate student may not serve as an instructor in that situation.
When determining criteria for grading, it is important to remember the University policy that requires a course grade be based on evidence of the student's performance, and that the student must have access to that evidence.
The School of Music faculty has agreed to place a statement in all course syllabi that addresses our commitment to Section 504 of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1973 regarding provision of reasonable accommodations for students with documented disabilities. (Approved by the faculty 12-2-03) See the Appendices for recommended language to insert in your syllabi.
(approved 4/3/00 by ensemble directors)
Participation in School of Music ensembles is open to all NIU students, regardless of major; however, an audition may be required. For those ensembles requiring an audition, placement will be determined by the conductor(s) using the following criteria:
With more than twenty credit-generating ensembles in place, the problem of extra rehearsals is enormous. To avoid unnecessary trouble caused by conflicting obligations, all extra rehearsals must be approved by the Director of the School of Music two weeks in advance of the scheduled date. The faculty member must then notify the rest of the faculty (by public notice) of the times to be used. Extra rehearsals may be approved for the following reasons:
Please plan your programming and rehearsals carefully. Extra rehearsals are disruptive and should be avoided unless absolutely necessary.
Dress rehearsals are not to be outside of regular rehearsal slots without prior permission. A dress rehearsal should not be an extra rehearsal.
Extra rehearsals cannot be considered mandatory. If they create a conflict with a class, the student should attend the class. If they conflict with a previously scheduled rehearsal, the regular commitment should be met.
Space for extra rehearsals must be requested in the Large Ensemble Office (Room 156) and must be agreed to by all ensemble directors who are affected.
The final week of rehearsals for each spring's opera production does not fall under the aforementioned policies. All Opera Workshop and Opera Orchestra members must be present for all rehearsals during this week. The only exceptions will be for students who have other regularly-scheduled NIU classes. Conflicts with other NIU ensemble performances will be resolved by the respective directors.
The University sets final examination schedules each term and publishes them in the Schedule of Classes. Finals are to be given only during assigned times. Do NOT give early exams. If you do not give a final examination, the test period must be used as a class period. Grades are due forty-eight hours following the examination.
The procedures for a grade appeal are in the Appendices of this document. The process can be very time-consuming and bitter. The best way to avoid appeals is for faculty to clearly state requirements for their course(s) in a syllabus and stick to the established criteria for grading. Applied teachers are encouraged to grade every lesson (in a grade book) and keep students informed of their progress each week. These issues can arise some time later, so save all your records.
Graduate teaching assistantships and graduate staff assistantships are available to qualified graduate students. To be eligible for a graduate assistantship, students must be admitted to the Graduate School and be in good academic standing. Tuition is waived, via a tuition-waiver scholarship, for students during the period of their appointment to assistantships. In addition, tuition is waived for the summer session adjacent to (preceding or following) the assistantship appointment period providing the student is an admitted graduate student during that summer.
The following are likely to have single or multiple graduate assistants assigned on a regular basis:
Faculty members may submit requests for graduate assistants to the Coordinator of Graduate Studies. Requests should be as specific as possible as to the proposed duties of the requested GA. The Graduate Advisory Committee may make recommendations, using the published priorities, but the Director will make final decisions regarding graduate assistantship offers.
Offers of Graduate Assistantships to students are NOT to be made by faculty members. Only the Coordinator of Graduate Studies can verbally commit these offers and written offers only come from Paul Bauer.
Offers of graduate assistantships will be prioritized as follows:
Delivery of instruction -- Use of the GA to deliver instruction so that faculty teaching loads can be extended or increased enrollment accommodated. (Secondary applied instruction is a low priority as it generates very few hours.)
Service to the school -- Use of the GA in essential performance roles in conducted ensembles or for accompanying. GAs only performing in a single conducted ensemble should also be utilized to assist in regard to delivery of instruction, instructional support, and University mission support. Such activities might include administration of convocations, undergraduate chamber music instruction, and outreach performances.
Ensemble or instructional support/other support needs -- Use of GAs only to perform in ensembles or to assist in the delivery of instruction, without effect on faculty teaching loads. This use would not accommodate increased enrollment. Other support needs would be addressed as well.
Graduate assistantships are one-year employment contracts, and carry no guarantee of renewal. Renewal is subject to review of the student’s performance, the budget, and school need. Normally, a student will not receive a graduate assistantship for more than two consecutive years. For any given year, returning students who hold graduate assistantships will be considered first, followed by returning graduate students who currently are receiving a tuition waiver.
When considering assigning a grade of Incomplete (I), faculty should consult the applicable undergraduate or graduate catalog for the specific conditions under which such an extension may be granted (extracts appear in the Appendices). For the most part, a grade of “I” may be given only due to catastrophic reasons, such as severe illness or death of a family member. Giving a poor student extra time to complete assigned course work or to prepare jury music is not an option; in such cases a grade that accurately reflects the work completed (or not completed) by the end of the term is appropriate. When a grade of “I” can be justified, an Incomplete Report Form containing a written description of work remaining to be done must be completed in consultation with the student and filed with the Director prior to issuing the grade of “I.” You should make three copies of the report form; one for yourself, one for the student, and one for the Director. Incomplete Report Forms are available in the Music Office, and a printable form is in the Appendices.
For undergraduate students, grades of I must be cleared within 200 days from the end of the term in which the grade was given. If a change-of-grade form has not been submitted before the deadline by the instructor who assigned the incomplete, then it will be administratively-changed to an F after the 200th day.
For graduate students, grades of I must be cleared within 120 days from the end of the term in which the grade was given. If a change-of-grade form has not been submitted before the deadline by the instructor who assigned the incomplete, then it will be administratively-changed to an F after the 120th day.
Instructors of graduate students may file a report form with the Graduate School that specifies a default grade, e.g., "If the work is not completed, the final grade will be C." These forms are available in the music office or from the Coordinator of Graduate Studies.
The School of Music is able to fill the individual needs of many students through our Selected Study courses. Such independent study is available in Music Theory and Composition (MUSC 319/619), Music History and Literature (MUSC 339/639), Music Performance (MUSC 369/669) and Music Education (MUSC 389/689). Selected Studies are not considered part of a faculty member’s teaching load, so you should use discretion in accepting the extra responsibility. The procedures for requesting an independent study are published in the on-line student handbook and must be followed or your student will not receive credit for his/her work. A printable Application for Independent Study is included in the Appendices.
All independent studies must be arranged by the tenth class day of the semester. NEVER teach a student or group until you have verification that the independent study request has been approved and that proper registration has been completed. It is highly-recommended that S/U grading be used for independent studies instead of letter grades.
Approved 4/29/03 by the faculty
The School of Music formula for determining the number of credit hours for registration in a variable-hour internship (MUSC 413, MUSC 463, MUSC 690) is 40 hours of work per semester hour of credit. Exceptions will be made only with the approval of the Director of the School of Music.
Grades assigned in each course are intended to reflect achievement relative to a defined level of competence or performance. Faculty members are expected during the first week of a semester to indicate clearly the requirements in a course and the level of competence/performance to be associated with each of the possible letter grades. It is important that the grades assigned by individual faculty agree with the university’s meaning or level of competence/performance as described in the current catalogs.
NIU Registration and Records Grading Information can be found HERE.
All off-campus trips must be approved by the Director prior to final negotiations with outside agencies.
Students in ensembles and classes that make required off-campus trips should be given a complete schedule of their off-campus responsibilities at the beginning of the semester.
All faculty members should have at least two weeks prior notice before a group of students goes off-campus in an organized program or participates in special on-campus activities during regular class schedule.
Students should be informed that it is their personal responsibility to make up the class work that they miss during these trips.
The students who are going to be missing classes should inform the teachers of all their classes well in advance of the time they are going to be absent.
Whenever possible, no field trip or tour should be planned during the first week or the last week of the semester. The week just before mid-semester break should also be avoided since many faculty members give mid-term examinations during that week.
Full-time School of Music faculty are required to maintain a minimum of two regular office hours per week for student consultation. During these two hours, faculty will be generally available for students and not otherwise occupied in regular or make-up instruction due to faculty absence or meetings. Full-time faculty members are encouraged to provide for student consultation in addition to the required office hours via arrangements convenient to the students. Part-time faculty members are required to provide students with the opportunity for consultation via office hours or other arrangements convenient to the students.
The School of Music faculty has established a set of academic standards, including prerequisites, corequisites, and minimum grade requirements. These and other academic standards represent the best collective professional judgment of you and your colleagues concerning the optimum preparation of our students for advanced study and musical careers. The faculty and administration are committed to upholding these as consistently as possible, while still retaining the flexibility of responding to extraordinary situations. Therefore, established prerequisites and corequisites will be upheld in all but the most exceptional circumstances. INDIVIDUAL FACULTY MEMBERS DO NOT HAVE THE AUTHORITY TO WAIVE REQUIRED PREREQUISITES OR COREQUISITES FOR COURSES THEY TEACH. Students must follow the procedure below to request a waiver of prerequisite or corequisite course requirements:
The Assistant Director must receive all requests for a waiver of a prerequisite or corequisite no later than two working days before the beginning of the term in which the student wishes to enroll in the course for which the PRQ or CRQ applies.
The last day of class each spring semester is set aside as University Reading Day to allow students to prepare for final examinations. No exams, rehearsals, juries, or other activities may be scheduled on Reading Day.
It is expected that all faculty will accept roles in the recruitment of students for the school. Perception is more important than reality to many prospective students, who need to perceive that the School of Music is a place that wants them and a place where they want to be. Developing a relationship through correspondence and personal contact is a highly effective way to show our desire to have them as students.
Why a student would want to come to NIU can vary greatly, and includes such real and perceived reasons as pursuit by faculty; quality of the faculty, programs, ensembles, and facilities; low cost; desirable location; and influence of teachers.
Why a student might not want to come to NIU includes such real and perceived negatives such as lack of interest by faculty, poor quality of faculty, programs, and ensembles, lack of scholarship support, high cost, undesirable location, crime problems, etc.
We have determined that a significant portion of the potential student population’s opinion of the School of Music is neither positive nor negative. More bluntly stated, they have no opinion. That potential student population is a fertile ground for cultivation of interest in attending NIU. A great deal of positive work can be accomplished when recruiting is approached as a group effort with no individual accepting an inordinate amount of responsibility and no individual shirking all responsibility. Please consider the following as you participate in our recruiting efforts:
Visits by one, two, or more faculty members are effective bridge-builders. University vehicles will be provided insomuch as the budget will allow.
The Coordinator of Admissions is available to assist with the scheduling and coordination of visits, both for faculty travelling to schools and for prospective students who wish to visit NIU.
Ensemble directors should visit high schools and community colleges. They can establish relationships with faculty and students there, and should maintain personal contact to cultivate these relationships. And, they can, in cooperation with applied faculty, invite students and others to visit campus.
Applied faculty should invite prospective students to campus to observe or participate in lessons, master classes, or rehearsals (confirmed with the ensemble director, of course), etc. You should also consider visiting high schools and community colleges in order to establish contacts.
Classroom faculty should visit high schools and community colleges as guest lecturers and/or consultants. Many high schools and most community colleges have music classes or interests in theory, history, electronic music, etc.
Community colleges have requested that we establish better connections with them to help their students transfer more successfully to NIU.
The Music Office maintains records and coordinates comprehensive correspondence with all prospective students. All pertinent information about prospective students gained from visits and other contacts should be shared with the Coordinator of Admissions.
Faculty who conduct research involving human subjects, or who supervise students who do such research, must insure that procedures set by the University Institutional Review Board are strictly followed. Any research projects involving the use of human subjects, regardless of source of funding, must have IRB review and approval before data collection can begin. “Human subjects research” means any systematic investigation in which data are collected via intervention or interaction with any living individual or by collection of identifiable private information that is designed to develop or contribute to generalized knowledge. In addition to physical procedures and interactions, this includes research involving questionnaires, surveys, and interviews. Retroactive IRB approval of a project after data have been collected is not possible under the federal regulations, and conducting human subjects research without prospective IRB review and approval puts NIU in danger of federal sanctions and could jeopardize faculty and student (including thesis/dissertation) research progress. The University’s Office of Research Compliance has forms and helpful information posted on its web site.
In the School of Music, the Coordinator of Graduate Studies is the authorized departmental reviewer. He has received training from the University Office of Research Compliance and should be able to answer your initial questions.
N.B. Commitments of financial assistance CANNOT and MUST NOT be made by individual faculty members. Only the Scholarship Coordinator and the Coordinator of Graduate Studies are authorized to offer scholarships. Please see them if you have questions with regard to the awarding of financial support to students.
Students (both undergraduate and graduate) are considered for scholarships when:
A School of Music Scholarship Recommendation Form or letter of support from any other member of the music faculty is optional.
The school receives an annual scholarship budget from the university as well as scholarship funds from endowment interest and gifts. In the past, full or half-tuition waiver awards were given to students; however, beginning in AY 2006, a more flexible program of Tuition Dollar Awards was made for part or all of a recipient student's annual or semester tuition costs. The Scholarship Committee, in consulation with the Assistant Director, make all final decisions.
Most of the students who receive scholarships must reapply each year to renew the award. For specific information about renewal requirements, please see the Scholarship Coordinator or the Coordinator of Graduate Studies. The application deadlines for continuing students to request a new or renewed scholarship are: prior to Thanksgiving for the following spring term and prior to Spring Break for the next fall term.
Retention of an undergraduate scholarship is based on a published list of criteria that is available in the Music Office.
The School of Music typically has more than 20 graduate tuition waivers and a limited amount of cash awards funded by endowments and gifts. Graduate waivers cannot be divided into half-waivers. The Coordinator of Graduate Studies makes all final decisions about graduate waivers, based on recommendations and the availability of scholarship resources.
Graduate tuition waivers are awarded for the fall and spring semesters of each academic year, and are renewed for the summer term if the student so requests. Normally, graduate waivers are automatically renewed for a second year without the student having to request renewal. For specific information about renewal requirements, please see the Coordinator of Graduate Studies. The application deadline for continuing graduate students to request a new scholarship is set annually by the Graduate Coordinator, and is usually during the month of April.
Graduate tuition waivers are awarded for the maintenance of School of Music performing ensembles and other programmatic needs. Accordingly, all recipients of graduate tuition waivers are required to perform in NIU ensembles and other special musical or classroom performances, as needed. Additionally, graduate tuition waiver students may be asked to take attendance at evening or weekend recitals on a weekly basis.
Through special admissions procedures, the School of Music is able to assist in the admission of a limited number of talented undergraduate students who do not qualify for regular academic admission. No commitment of any type should be made to a prospective student found to be in this situation. Requests for sponsored/transfer review admission of students should go to the Coordinator of Admissions.
It is not only inappropriate but illegal to post student grades in public places, including electronic ones, with names attached. Use of Social Security numbers or Z-ID numbers for posting grades is also improper. In addition, a recent ruling from the U.S. Department of Education prohibits the posting of any portion of a student's Social Security number. Using, for example, the last four digits of the SSN is a violation of the privacy laws.
Options for legally posting student grades include using randomly-generated numbers or words as identifiers, and posting grades according to these (not arranged according to the alphabetized names of the students!). Or, let the students choose their own identifiers (numeric or text).
Internet course management systems such as Blackboard have features for posting grades on course websites in a secure manner so that students enrolled for a particular course made available through Blackboard can view their individual grades using their login ID and password. If you already use Blackboard, you may wish to consider posting grades in this way. If you currently do not use Blackboard and would like to learn more about this system and its features for teaching purposes, please contact the Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center.
The federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974 as amended identifies the rights of students and their families with respect to student educational records kept by the institutions. The act provides students with the right to (1) inspect and review their record, (2) restrict the disclosure of their record, and (3) seek to amend their record. Students have the right to expect that information in their educational records will be kept confidential, and will be disclosed only with their permission or under provision of the law.