New Music chair to be chosen with care

Posted on Apr 14 2014 - 8:44am by Alison Haywood

By Natalie DeFord, A&E Writer

A careful decision has to be made, as David Robbins will be stepping down at the end of this academic year, after a 33-year tenure as the music chair.

The search for a new chair has been thorough with an 11-member committee led by Cameron Bennett, the dean of the school of arts and communication.

Bennett said Pacific Lutheran University received approximately 55 well-qualified applicants for the position after it was posted nationally. PLU advertised the job in The Chronicle of Higher Education, College Music Society and on Higheredjobs.com.

Bennett said PLU also mailed a position announcement to all National Association of Schools of Music (NASM) member institutions.

That announcement called for an energetic teacher, scholar and artist  as well as someone who demonstrated excellence.

Bennett said the committee is looking for a dynamic chair with vision for advancing the excellence of the music program both artistically and academically.

“Music is one of the most visible programs at the university and certainly a core of Lutheran higher education,” Bennett said. He also said that about 25 percent of all undergraduates at Pacific Lutheran University are involved in the music department, so this change will affect many students and community members.

PLU held on-campus interviews for three finalists at the end of February.

Music students had the opportunity to have lunch with finalists, and there was also an open forum session as well as a teaching research presentation.

All music students were invited and able to submit evaluations. A link to a survey for each finalist was sent to students in an email which read, “Your input is extremely valuable in the process.”

PLU interviewed two additional finalists Monday and Tuesday. Bennett sent out an email announcing this update to music students April 2, inviting them to attend and give feedback.

The email read, “After the on-campus interviews of the earlier finalists in late February, the search committee determined that we had not yet found the right candidate to serve as Music Department Chair and has recommended that the search continue.”

The email also said, “Your participation in completing these evaluations is incredibly important and valuable to the search process.”

The search committee will meet later this week to make a final recommendation.

“The biggest change will be that there will be someone different serving as music department chair after Professor Robbins,” Bennett said.

PLU will hold a concert in honor of Robbins May 22 at 8 p.m. in Lagerquist Concert Hall.