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University Staff Advisory Council - page 12 / 16





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Dean Mark Wait, Dean of the Blair School of Music.  The Blair School as most of you know is primarily a school of classical music.  I do not foresee that changing.  Our faculty, the Dean, all have classical music in their background.  We have a very solid foundation among the students in classical music.  However, Blair will be not solely the school of classical music.  Starting ten years ago, we began to offer music of the region – Appalachian music; bluegrass; folk music.  In 1994, we started by teaching fiddling as opposed to violin; dulcimer, mandolin.  We have just added banjo. The reasons are simple. We live among some of the finest musicians in those areas.  If we don’t make them available to our students, then we are missing the boat and really delinquent in our responsibilities.  So we teach that music.  We have also expanded significantly in the area of world music – global music.  We teach Latin American and Caribbean music. We have a large African drumming assembly.  We have a steel drum assembly now.  We have a history of country music -- a history of blues -- history of rock -- and each year about 2,000 Vanderbilt undergraduates take a Blair School course in one of these areas.  We think that is an important part of the increasing diversification that Vanderbilt is undergoing right now.

This is the most exciting time at Vanderbilt in my twelve years here.  You have an increasing intellectual diversification, ethic diversity.  Vanderbilt is becoming a far more truly cosmopolitan and global entity.  We are pleased to be not only following in the world of music but also to be helping to lead that effort as well.  I think there will be more efforts on the part of the Blair School to engage in music of the world while training the next generation of classical musicians.  

John Brassil:  And using the phrase tooting your own horn, probably might not be appropriate here, but I think it is important to recognize the people in the Blair School who actually teach these classes.  For instance you have an adjunct associate professor of bass, one Edgar Meyer, who is a MacArthur Genius Grant recipient.  The Blair School is a very special place.  I didn’t want to slight you by not mentioning your Grammy nominations.  

Dean Wait:  Well thank you.  I appreciate you particularly in mentioning Edgar.  Edgar is playing a concert Saturday at Ingram Hall.   It is his first concert in Nashville in something like eight years.  He may be one of the true geniuses I have known. The MacArthur Foundation Fellowship aside he is a fascinating person, intellectually and musically.  I hope you get a chance to hear him.

John Brassil:  I have seen him play.  He is absolutely fantastic.  

So Dean McCarty, who do you have performing this weekend?   

Richard McCarty, Dean of the College of Arts and Science.  Having read I am Charlotte Simmons, I think we probably have a lot of things going on this weekend.  

Five quick things relating to the College of Arts and Science.  I think the biggest challenge for the four undergraduate schools going forward is need based financial aid.  We want to make this unbelievable rich education experience available to anyone regardless of financial concerns of the parents.  That puts a tremendous burden on all of us. We are all bearing the weight of this financial investment and the talent that comes here every year in the form of our freshman class. Second, we are not at the level that we should be in graduate education:  either in terms of quality or in terms of perceived repetition if you will.  There are lots of rankings of graduate programs.  The gold standard is the National Research Council rankings.  They are done about

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