Carroll University is now an accredited member of the National Association of Schools of Music – one of just two institutions to receive this honor out of more than 300 colleges and universities that applied in 2017-18. It joins the ranks of 643 NASM-accredited institutions.
“We’re thrilled to have earned this prestigious honor,” said Carroll President Cindy Gnadinger. “It’s a testament to the high quality of our music education.”
Achieving this distinction is a laborious process, and spearheading the effort was Joel Matthys, assistant professor of music and music program coordinator. He’s also a Carroll alumnus who graduated in 1997 with a B.S. in music theory and composition.
Matthys said the accreditation provides many benefits to students. “It provides external validation that our music program meets established standards for the education of music professionals and provides an education that will prepare them to pursue careers or further study in the arts,” he said.
Matthys explained the designation also “helps us to provide students with clear descriptions of the basic knowledge and skills needed to prepare for specific music and music-related professions. It provides resources and training to our music faculty and staff to help plan for changes in higher education for the arts in the coming decades. For all these reasons, NASM accreditation is a prerequisite for being an American Music Therapy Association approved Music Therapy program.”
The accreditation process took four years and required major revision and documentation of the curriculum, establishment of clear policies for every area of administering the program, and improved accounting, record-keeping and goal-setting, Matthys added.
The first NASM consultant visited the campus in fall 2014, and the accreditation process was completed in December 2018. Along the way, Carroll had to provide four major accreditation reports totaling more than 1,000 pages and pass an on-site visit from a team of evaluators.
Founded in 1924, NASM is an organization of schools, conservatories, colleges and universities. It establishes national standards for undergraduate and graduate degrees and other credentials for music and music-related disciplines, and provides assistance to institutions and individuals engaged in artistic, scholarly, educational and other music-related endeavors.