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UVA Wise music program earns national accreditation

Staff report • Dec 2, 2019 at 5:30 PM

WISE — The University of Virginia’s College at Wise’s Music Division has become the college’s sixth academic program to earn national accreditation.

College officials on Tuesday said the music division earned National Association of Schools of Music accreditation. That follows academic accreditation from other national organizations for the college’s education, nursing, software engineering, computer science and chemistry programs.

College Chancellor Donna P. Henry on Tuesday said the music division began working on national accreditation in 2013, and she credited the faculty’s work for its success.

“The accreditation will be of immense benefit to our students and to our music graduates,” Henry said. “National accreditation was a goal under our Envisioning 2020 strategic plan to strengthen existing programs to boost educational outcomes. NASM accreditation of our Division of Music meets that goal.”

After a NASM consultant visited the college in 2016 to talk about specific aspects for a music accreditation, the division began the formal process with the consultant’s encouragement, College spokesperson Kathy Still said.

Music professor Donald Sorah handled the division’s 67-page self-study document, which reviewed the program’s curriculum, policies, personnel, student achievement, library holdings and future planning. That led to a 2017 review by NASM officials and a two-day visit by officials to talk with students, faculty and administrators and watch rehearsals and student performances.

“The Division of Music is proud to have earned NASM membership as it is an external validation of the quality of the program, curriculum, resources, and instruction provided for its students of music, whether as music majors, music minors, or as students enrolled in music classes to earn liberal arts core credits,” Sorah said.

“The lengthy application process has provided much needed self-reflection on the strengths and weaknesses of our program, an opportunity to investigate our purpose within the institution, and has encouraged us to be forward-thinking, envisioning the future of our music program,” Sorah said.

UVA Wise music major Joseph McNulty said he has witnessed changes in the program’s past three years that led to the accreditation.

“The NASM accreditation gives me a new sense of pride in my music program,” McNulty said. “I feel proud knowing that I have been able to complete a program that is nationally recognized.”

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