The University’s School of Music, Theatre & Dance has begun to heavily enforce a policy that requires students who are members of University-affiliated ensembles to register for their group as a class.
Though it’s always been the policy of the School of Music for students participating in ensembles like the Michigan Marching Band and Women’s and Men’s glee clubs to register for those courses, this year the school is beefing up its enforcement of the policy. In the past, students registered for the maximum number of credits or who were paying for their courses per credit-hour were often excused from the requirement to register.
“It is the policy of the University that students participating in credit-bearing courses must enroll in those courses,” School of Music Dean Christopher Kendall wrote in an interview. “Ensembles listed in the student handbook and on the class schedule are credit-bearing courses taught by faculty or GSIs under the direct supervision of faculty.”
Kendall added that the school is working with students to make sure compliance with the policy isn’t too much of a burden.
“The SMTD (School of Music, Theatre & Dance) is being responsive to the situation by working on a case-by-case basis this semester with students for whom this requirement puts them above 18 credits to advise and support them regarding ensemble participation,” Kendall wrote.
Matt Griffith, the Men’s Glee Club major media manager, said the Men’s Glee Club has always had the option to register for the ensemble, but it was never officially required. He added that the enforcement of the policy initially presented a challenge for the club, but it has been able to work through it quite well.
“So many people are so passionate about Glee Club, so they have been willing to switch around their schedules to fit it in,” he said.
Griffith added that though this is an administrative change in the way things have been done in the club for the past 50 years, it is nothing the group can’t handle.
Women’s Glee Club director Julie Skadsem said the Women’s Glee Club is an ensemble that has been no stranger to this policy. The group, she said, required its members to register for the club as a class for a number of years but has always been able to make exceptions for students taking the maximum number of credits.
“If we had girls who were already at 18 credits, we would have them submit in writing why they were unable to register,” Skadsem said, adding that those appeals will now have to be considered by the School of Music under the new enforcement rules.
The Michigan Marching Band is one ensemble that has always heavily enforced this policy among its participants, according to director Scott Boerma. Boerma said it is only fair that the students register ensembles because the University is providing them a service.
“(This policy) has affected very few students,” Boerma said.
He added that those who have been affected “have all stepped up and either changed their schedule or have paid the extra cost.”
Skadsem said she believes that this policy may actually benefit the ensembles and that requiring students to register for glee club will give them more motivation to attend events and keep up with practice.
“It’s nice that (the participants) are getting credit for all the hard work they do,” Boerma said.