New credit cap to bring increased enrollment in one-credit hour music classes

Brittany Anderson

Professors who teach one-credit hour music classes are hopeful for a rise in enrollment after the Board of Trustees increased the credit hour cap from 16 to 18 in June.

“By increasing the cap by even one credit hour benefits our music students to the fullest extent and allows students who have that extra hour to explore other opportunities that maybe they didn’t have before,” said Jenna Bice,academic advisor for the School of Theatre, Dance and Music.

Starting in the fall, full-time students are considered between 12 and 18 credit hours as opposed to the previous 11 to 16 credit hours.

“Students can explore the opportunity of getting a minor in some of these artistic classes that are only one credit hour, they get the chance of seeing what else they can get out of Kent,” Bice said. “It is a huge impact and relief to the music school and we are excited for next semester.”

Ensembles offered through the School of Music that are one-hour credits include men’s and women’s chorus, band, orchestra and piano.

“It really affected music because we have so many ensembles that rely on not just music majors but non-music majors, especially marching band and gospel choir,” said Denise Seachrist, the interim dean and chief administrative officer at Kent State Stark. “The credit cap at 16 really killed concept of double majors in the School of Music.”

Students that added the 17th and 18th credit hour would have had to pay a $456 per-credit-hour fee. Musically diverse students will be able to discover a variety of musical ensemble hustle-free and increasing the credit cap enables music majors to do just that.

“When I was the director of the School of Music, I went to the provost on a couple of occasions with John Crawford, the dean of the College of the Arts, to talk about how detrimental this was to students,” Seachrist said. “I am so glad to see that credit cap go away.”

“I love having more people in the choir because we are able to project that energy and fill each section,” junior theatre studies major Dara Sherman said. “I would not have taken gospel choir this coming semester because I’d be taking all my major and minor classes.”

Gospel choir is one of the many ensembles that suffered a decline in enrollment when the credit cap was first introduced.

“Particularly in some of our ensembles such as gospel choir for example decline dramatically from Spring 2012 to Fall 2012,” said Dana Brown, associate professor and undergraduate coordinator. Enrollment fell from 61 to 44 in Fall 2012.

There are students all across the School of Music who are excited to see the changes in enrollment in one-credit hour classes.

Erica Cope, a vocal performance major, is a member of the outreach recruitment committee in the band. Since the credit cap increase, 40 more people are signed up for band this year than last year.

“It’s awesome because (students) are realizing that they have all the classes that they need to take and are making use of the extra two (credit hours) and deciding to take things they’ve always been interested in and never had the chance to take,” Cope said. “So many freshmen have also come up to the choir tables and expressed their interest at DKS this year, so we are looking to grow.”

Contact Brittany Anderson at [email protected].