LETTER: Langley university defends its cuts to music program

Kwantlen Polytechnic University says music costs twice as much to offer as other programs

Dear Editor,

Further to Natalia Kondratayeva’s recent letter regarding changes proposed to Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s music program, KPU is not closing the program and, in fact, is trying to save it.

The current design of the program makes it expensive to deliver. The university runs it at a loss and any growth in the program only adds to that loss. Faculty have been encouraged over a number of years to make adjustments to the program so that it is more sustainable, but to date, no progress has been made.

The music program is unsustainable in its current format, with costs exceeding revenues at a ratio greater than 2:1. The music program costs nearly five times more than the average KPU program to run. We understand and support the passion for a music program. That passion cannot override our need to run the program within a fiscally sustainable model.

Accordingly, our music offerings need to be revisioned as part of the university’s broader fiscal plan. To conduct a revisioning process without disrupting the academic path of students already in a program, it was necessary for KPU to cancel the 2019-20 academic year intake. KPU is committed to ensuring existing students can continue their studies through to graduation.

Cancelling the 2019-20 academic year intake into music has created space for myself, our faculty, students and other stakeholders to come together to try to develop a sustainable model for delivering a strong, distinctive and exciting music program at the university.

There are many different ways to deliver music in a way that supports students into a career and KPU is keen to explore options which could drive the university to the forefront of music education in the province.

We look forward to hearing ideas from the music community for innovative ways in which we can deliver exciting, strong, distinctive and sustainable music programming well into the future.

Diane Purvey, Dean of Arts, Kwantlen Polytechnic University

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