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[WSMTE] Loss of Music Therapy education in UW System

Dear Colleagues in Wisconsin Music Teacher Education,

Recently many of us learned that closure of the Music Therapy program at UW-Eau Claire appears imminent. You may recall that five years ago the Music Therapy program at UW-Oshkosh was suspended as well. I wouldn't want to address the specifics of the situation at either institution, and this may not be an appropriate forum for that sort of discussion anyway. But as someone concerned about the contribution of music and musicians to the health of our society, I feel compelled to offer this...

This unfortunate situation is the sort of thing that needs to be blatantly presented to legislators and voters, parents and students, by all of us: Voters want to pay fewer taxes and political decision- makers want to champion that cause for profit-bearing entities, but here is an example of how the failure to fund public higher education has directly diminished the potential for quality of life in Wisconsin. Short-sightedly, legislators are diverting funds from public higher education with seemingly unexplainable determination, forcing difficult decisions like this one. In the society they are building, we rely on private goodwill rather than a system of educating and employing thoughtful caretakers of the future. It makes me frustrated and frightened. For my part, I will continue to make sure that every future educator I come in contact with understands the role they play in shaping the minds of future voters and leaders, and I'll use the loss of two highly-regarded public music therapy education programs as a concrete example of what can happen if educators fail. If you share a part of the view I have expressed, I hope you will do the same thing.


Kenneth L. liske, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Music, Education, and Human Services
University of Wisconsin Oshkosh