Dean's Greetings - February 2023

Dear alumni and friends, 

Dean Michael KimIt continues to be my privilege to witness the energy and enthusiasm of our community this year, and its breathtaking array of scholarly guests, residencies, guest performances, masterclasses, and community outreach activities. I salute and deeply appreciate the ongoing commitment of our staff and faculty to our students within this close-knit community and greatly enjoy working with our new Provost Dr. Florentine Strzelczyk.

Formulating a strategic blueprint to guide our community’s pathways forward and bringing our community together on central strategic guideposts has been a foundational priority. What is our post-pandemic educational narrative? How can we best foster and compassionately support our community’s aspirations to the highest levels of musical and academic excellence? After a broad process that involved progressively layered consultations with faculty, staff, and students; departments; campus and community stakeholders; and community town halls, five key pillars were defined in our strategic plan Crescendo 2026 including research and teaching excellence; community relevance and engagement; equity, diversification, inclusion, and decolonization; technology; and student career readiness. These guideposts encapsulate our community’s commitment to our student’s post-pandemic success, and have strategically guided recent new faculty hires, diversification of our curricular offerings, and expanded experiential learning opportunities for our students. I would love to hear your thoughts and feedback and encourage you to reach out.

I continue to be delighted and amazed at the scope and prestige of our alumni accomplishments internationally. Ranging from Jarrett McCourt’s (tuba) international tour with the Berlin Philharmonic, Barbara Hill’s tour of Japan (French horn) with the Boston Symphony, to Adrianne Pieczonka’s role as Vocal Chair and Head of the Vocal Department at Toronto’s Glenn Gould School, and Chris Lorway’s recently announced appointment as CEO and President of the Banff Centre, Western graduates are significant parts of the music eco-system nationally and internationally, leading our field through the unprecedented opportunities and challenges of this post-pandemic environment as engaged educators, administrators, researchers, composers, and performers. What a privilege and honour it is to steward the great history and narrative of our student and alumni accomplishments!

With auditions and interviews well underway for our graduate and undergraduate programs, we are already looking forward to welcoming the next generation of alumni. This year’s students have more choice than ever to customize their education at Western – in additional to the traditional BMus streams, students have the opportunity to join the new Creative Arts and Production program, or a variety of BA options that can be paired with any other discipline at Western. We’re seeing the popularity of these programs increase, and I’m proud we are keeping up with demand. Thank you for all your work in being our ambassadors – you know first hand the value of your education, and our future students are grateful to hear from you.

Stay tuned for more exciting news ahead. As always, I extend the warmest thanks and gratitude of our students, faculty, and staff to our many friends, alumni, community partners, and donors.

With my appreciation,

Michael Kim
Dean, Don Wright Faculty of Music

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