IPFW Music School Could Change if IU Leaves

Written by: Rachel Stephens

The IPFW music school could see a shift in governance and prominence if Indiana University leaves IPFW as suggested by the Legislative Services Agency report.

The agency issued a report in January recommending Indiana University transition out of IPFW. This change could cause IPFW to cease offering of an IU music degree.

However, Purdue Trustee Michael Burgoff said, “The two universities would like a solution that allows the music program to continue.”

Department Chair of the Rhinehart Music Center Gregory Jones said the final decision  rests with IU and Purdue. If the universities decide to separate, it will happen despite what IPFW wants. Jones said, “The one thing I can say for sure is that we will have a music department.”

Andrew Downs, presiding officer of the Fort Wayne Senate, said one possibility of sustaining the music program is for Purdue to keep the program exclusive to the Fort Wayne campus. Another possibility would include Purdue creating a music program for all of its campuses under their own governance. The least likely scenario, Downs said, is that IPFW will offer its own music degree.

Purdue does not offer a music degree, they would have to establish new programs to keep music degrees at IPFW. However, according to Downs, “Universities don’t just get to create programs if they feel like it.”

If Purdue takes academic responsibility over the music department, according to Downs it is ultimately up to the Indiana Commission for Higher Education to approve a Purdue music program. Down said this process “is not fast by any stretch of the imagination.”

According to Downs, it is more likely that IPFW would offer degrees from both institutions during the process of the degree transferring to Purdue.

If Indiana University separates from IPFW, the university would eventually cease to offer degrees from the IU music program which is ranked one of the top music schools in the world.

John O’Connell, Dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts, said dropping the IU brand would be a significant loss for IPFW’s music department.

Because Purdue has no music degree program and therefore no global ranking, IPFW may have to work to rebuild their musical reputation.

According to Jones, if there would be a conversion to a Purdue program, it would take time for the program to establish a high rank. Jones said a couple of big performances and students continuing to get good jobs would help the IPFW music program eventually regain prestige.

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