Current Status of the CBMR
The Center for Black Music Research remains open! As many CBMR friends and constituents know, the CBMR’s existence has been in doubt since February 2012. The history and current status of the college’s Blueprint Prioritization initiative are outlined below, but be assured that even though programming and personnel have been curtailed, the CBMR is still open as usual and is available to provide its normal services, including full access to the CBMR Library and Archives and its holdings. All materials and collections remain in place and will continue to be fully protected and supported by the CBMR’s professional staff.
Columbia College Chicago Blueprint Prioritization
The multi-stage Blueprint Prioritization process which began in fall 2011 was completed on June 29 when the Columbia College Board of Trustees issued its decisions.
In February, after deans’ level recommendations had been made, the interim Provost recommended that the Center for Black Music Research be eliminated. The next stage of the prioritization initiative was completed in March by the prioritization Academic Team, which was very supportive of the CBMR. The results of these stages were then presented to college president Dr. Warrick Carter, whose own recommendations were made public on May 23. While the president’s recommendations would allow for the CBMR’s continued existence at Columbia, they contain several mandates related to staffing, programmatic focus, reporting and operating structures, and fiscal planning that if taken together, do not create a sustainable model.
The final stage of the process was concluded when the Columbia College board of trustees announced its decisions. The trustees’ prioritization overview statement can be found in its entirety at the CBMR's main site. While the president’s recommendations were not altered, the board did affirm that the CBMR and other centers will remain at the college. However, because the board did not respond in any detail or address any of the contingencies in the president’s recommendations, the CBMR continues to have significant questions about the nature of its future. The college’s new senior vice president has begun first steps in what will probably be a multi-year implementation process. It may yet be several months or more before we have a detailed understanding of the nature of the administration’s plans for the CBMR, but we can affirm that the president, senior vice president, and board of trustees all recognize (on some level) the Center’s unique importance and agree that it should continue to exist at and be supported by Columbia.
Please visit www.colum.edu/cbmr to view the complete recommendation issued by the Columbia College Chicago Board of Trustees. And please feel free to call 312.369.7559 or write firstname.lastname@example.org with questions about the CBMR. Your inquiries will be forwarded as appropriate.
The Center has been heartened by the hundreds of letters, emails, and calls that have been received in response to the recommendations that were made during this protracted process. Thank you for your continuing interest and support.