Engagement throughout the strategic planning process is important to shape the future and work towards OneUND.  Summaries of engagement events will be posted here.  If you have comments or insight, please leave a comment under the post or email UND.strategicplanning@und.edu if you wish to comment in private.

Engage. Envision. Empower.

A Campus Conversation about Core Values and Strategic Planning

The Strategic Planning Committee has developed draft Core Values and eight preliminary Strategic Initiatives that flow from its educational mission and Core Values.  The Core Values and Strategic  Initiatives would provide the foundation of the Strategic Plan.  This Campus Conversation creates an opportunity for the campus community to provide its insights on both of these building blocks.  Please provide feedback by November 4, 2016.


Review and provide feedback on the draft of UND’s Core Values

Review and provide feedback on the UND’s preliminary Strategic Initiatives 

If you have comments or insight, please leave a comment under the post or email UND.strategicplanning@und.edu if you wish to comment in private.

14 thoughts on “Engagements

  • November 3, 2016 at 10:21 am

    Please reinstate the Music Therapy Program here at UND. I see a tremendous value in Music Therapy. I worked closely with a very talented music therapist at my last clinic. I am concerned that losing the only program in ND will directly impact the quality of life of ND residents with chronic diseases, including Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s. North Dakota has a high percentage of residents in rural areas, including many of these same residents with chronic diseases. Rural health care is a mission of UND, and Music Therapy is a vital part of Health Care delivery. While the program may be housed in the College of Music, I do believe it should be considered as an integral part of Health Sciences. Music Therapists work alongside other Therapists. If we eliminate the only Music Therapy program within the state of ND and region, where are we likely to find therapists in the future? The majority of health care workers in ND are natives of this region.

    Thank you for considering our input. I do hope it will make the difference in keeping the music therapy program here at UND.

    • November 3, 2016 at 10:41 am

      Thank you for sharing your comments and suggestions with us. All information gathered via the Campus Conversations, emails and blogs will be shared with the President, Steering and Planning Committees as part of the input for planning. Thank you again for your participation in the process!

  • November 3, 2016 at 3:25 pm

    The Music Therapy program at UND is essential to the state’s ability to keep our profession alive. We as Music Therapists are highly engaged with many other professions including nursing, medical staff, therapists, teachers and parents across our region. In ND alone, we see thousands of individuals with intellectual delays, mental health concerns, autism, dementia and various other individuals with specific needs. Our services reach families far and wide and have been referred to as essential by many families facing trauma, sickness and terminal illness. Cutting the Music Therapy department at UND would cut off our ability to sustain quality music therapists here in our state. It would affect our music therapy businesses, facilities that implement music therapy services and our ability to keep our license in ND, to essentially protect our clients from harm. Music Therapists are essential health care providers and it has taken us over 15 years to lay the groundwork to get this far. Please reconsider the affects that it would have not only on UND, but also the entire state and profession of Music Therapy at the national level. UND Music Therapy program is highly respected across the nation and many internship sites recruit from UND specifically because of the high caliber students UND produces. Cutting UND’s MT program would also be a detriment to the entire music community as MT students make up many of the ensembles and bring in out of state tuition revenue for the Music program.


    • November 3, 2016 at 4:32 pm

      Thank you Emily for taking the time share your comments and suggestions with us. All information gathered via the Campus Conversations, emails and blogs will be shared with the President, Steering and Planning Committees as part of the input for planning. Your participation in the process is very much appreciated!

    • November 7, 2016 at 2:19 pm

      Thank you for your input. Comments specific to the Music Therapy program are being shared with the Arts and Sciences Dean’s Office, the Provost and the President. Your participation in the process is appreciated.

  • November 3, 2016 at 3:46 pm

    I worked with music therapists on a multi-disciplinary team in Arizona. We all worked together, the music therapist, OT, teachers, and speech therapists. The children with autism we served were so engaged when involved with the music therapists. I learned so much as an occupational therapist on how to get and keep their attention through the use of rhythm and song. I was surprised when I moved back to ND that we had no music therapists in the Bismarck area working. Now there have been some starting as UND has been graduating students in our state. When I found out they were cutting the program at UND I was upset especially when I heard some in administration thought it was a “feel good” degree. That makes absolutely no sense and shows they do not know what a music therapist does for a living. It is so similar to OT in the practice areas they both work in, however, the modality of the treatment involves music. Why cut music therapy and keep OT? How are these decisions made? We have several OT programs in the state but only one MT. Please do not cut this program. With baby boomers aging we will need all the MT we can get at our area nursing homes. There are many business degrees in our state that already focus on leadership so I have no idea why UND would cut MT and add a business degree that is already replicated at other universities in our state. Look at the whole picture. You have a wonderful new medschool,why not include MT there along with OT and PT?

    • November 3, 2016 at 4:41 pm

      Karen, we thank you for sharing your comments and suggestions with us. We value and appreciate our UND Alum and thank you for being involved in the process. Information gathered via the Campus Conversations, emails and blogs will be shared with the President, Steering and Planning Committees as part of the input for planning.

    • November 7, 2016 at 2:19 pm

      Thank you for your input. Comments specific to the Music Therapy program are being shared with the Arts and Sciences Dean’s Office, the Provost and the President. Your participation in the process is appreciated.

  • November 4, 2016 at 2:21 am

    I am a proud graduate of UND’s greatly respected Occupational Therapy program. I love UND and hope that my children may also choose my alma mater. It saddens me to hear of what appears to be a lack of understanding of what TRUE POTENTIAL the Music Therapy program can really amount to and offer!

    I’ve been working as an Occupational Therapist for nearly 20 years in a variety of settings in Washington state, Montana, Southern California and now North Dakota. Many of the facilities I worked, were hospitals and skilled nursing homes and if you could witness what I had because of Music Therapy, (let me emphasize the word THERAPY here), you might grasp a greater understanding of what loss this would be to ND.

    As an OT I saw many elderly in decline in physical and cognitive health. In one facility we had a Music THERAPIST who would host groups. I witnessed an elderly lady that spent hours sitting in her wheelchair in silence, unable to express her own needs as Alzheimers slowly gnawed away at her brain function. During this Music THERAPY session old time songs were being played. It may have been one of her old favorites from her younger years but much to everyone’s amazement, I witnessed her singing along with a full line of the chorus!!! Her eyes had spark and twinkle in those moments! I saw an elderly man with a significant shuffling gait take full steps when dancing with the music therapist as well. This is MUSIC THERAPY!

    My father had Alzheimers. He used to love to dance. Only a few months before his passing and confined to a wheelchair with very limited mobility, we played his favorite German polka tapes he loved. It was then that I saw my father attempting to clap to the rhythm with a grand smile on his face I will never forget. That was another neurological impact of Music THERAPY!

    What I’m trying to get across is that this program is not just about musicians, or students learning to become music conductors or performing artists, but students that chose this field because they possess a talent combined with an understanding of music and want to take it one huge step further. They have a desire in their heart and want to make a difference in helping those in need.

    Music Therapy is becoming more and more noticed and given credence neurologically and overall in the healthcare field. It has also been gaining promise in treatment of children with;

    Autism, ADHD, Dyslexia and other Learning Disabilities, brain injuries, developmental delays etc. With adults and geriatrics it has been known to reduce need for antipsychotic drugs and reduce challenging behaviors in Alzheimers patients, used to help in treatment of Parkinson’s, Traumatic Brain Injuries, stroke and list goes on as more and more research is being founded. Music Therapists are trained to use this therapy as neurologic training as it helps to increase the neurons firing in the brain of any of these patients. It is used as an auditory stimulator to reach aspects of the brain that no longer appear active.

    I would like to think that UND would be proactive in noting this field of MUSIC THERAPY is on the rise with all the research being done! As the only university in ND with this program, I hope you consider that this field is indicating MORE of a need, not less. It would only behoove UND to not only maintain but promote this program in our state.

    Thank you for your consideration in keeping the Music Therapy program and making the University of North Dakota the place future Music THERAPY students will seek to attend as one of the best in the country. Don’t give it up now. There’s more need in this field as the best is yet to come!

    • November 4, 2016 at 10:04 am

      Michelle, thank you for taking the time share your comments, suggestions and personal experience with us. Through your post it is clear you are passionate about the Music Therapy program and a proud alum. The information gathered via the Campus Conversations, emails and blogs will be shared with the President, Steering and Planning Committees as part of the input for planning. Your participation in the process is very much appreciated!

  • November 4, 2016 at 11:06 am

    I am sharing a letter that I sent back in March in regard to maintaining the Music Therapy program here at UND. I feel it still speaks to the University’s Strategic Initiatives published on-line, especially community, recruitment, and success. In addition, the students in this program receive a strong liberal arts education and have great potential to collaborate with others.

    My daughter did elect to stay at UND to complete her degree; however, over one-half of her classmates left UND to attend other programs in different states. For all of these students their student experience is very different moving forward.

    I respectfully ask for reconsideration of the Music Therapy program.

    (letter from March 2016 is below – formatting was lost in the copy/paste)

    Cindy Flom-Meland

    Music Therapy Program at UND – a parent’s perspective

    Cindy Flom-Meland Tue, Mar 15, 2016 at 1:44 PM To: ed.schafer@und.edu
    Cc: mark.hagerott@ndus.edu, thomas.dilorenzo@und.edu, debbie.storrs@und.edu, michael.wittgraf@und.edu, meganne.masko@email.und.edu, scott.sandberg@und.edu, james.popejoy@und.edu

    March 15, 2016
    University of North Dakota Office of the President 300 Twamley Hall
    264 Centennial Dr Stop 8193 Grand Forks, ND 58202

    Dear President Schafer,

    I am writing this letter in support of and to advocate for maintaining the Music Therapy Program within the Department of Music. One of these students is my daughter; she is currently a sophomore in the Music Therapy Program at the University of North Dakota (UND).

    According to the article published in the Grand Forks Herald on Thursday, March 10, 2016 budget cut decisions will be based upon three overarching university priorities, which include: providing the best possible student learning experience, serving the state of North Dakota, and providing long-lasting, affordable and permanent career opportunities for employees. It is also stated in the article that each unit [department] is to prioritize what they do.

    I will address the first two priorities: serving the state of North Dakota and the student learning experience and share information available to the public regarding the priorities of the music department.

    Music therapy is not a new profession. According to the American Music Therapy Association,1 the earliest known reference to music therapy appeared in 1789 in an unsigned article in the Columbian Magazine titled “Music Physically Considered.”
    The benefits of music therapy are far reaching and benefit people across the lifespan. According to a meta-analysis by Whipple,2 p. 102 children and adolescents with autism experience the following benefits:
    • Increased appropriate social behaviors and decreased inappropriate, stereotypical, self-stimulatory behaviors
    • Increased attention to task
    • Increased vocalizations, verbalizations, gestures, and vocabulary comprehension

    • Increased echolalia, moving towards increased communication, and decreased echolaic percentage of total utterances
    • Increased communicative acts and interactions with others
    • Enhanced body awareness and coordination
    • Improved self-care skills and symbolic play
    • Anxiety reduction

    A randomized controlled study design evaluated the mood and pain levels in patients following organ transplant and found improvements in mood and decrease in pain levels with the use of music therapy.3 Hilliard4 studied the use of music therapy for patients receiving hospice and palliative care. The results indicated patients receiving music therapy had a higher quality of life than those who did not.

    Citizens of North Dakota are not unfamiliar to autism spectrum disorder, being recipients of organ transplants, or receiving hospice and/or palliative care. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention5 estimate that 1 in 68 children in the United States are living with autism. The Department of Health and Human Services has awarded Fargo and Sioux Falls Sanford transplant programs with the Bronze Award for Transplant Programs and the Bronze Medal of Honor for Organ Donations. Behind all cardiovascular disease, cancer is the second leading cause of death in North Dakota.6 Although cancer is not the only diagnosis of patients receiving hospice and/or palliative care, it is the most prevalent primary diagnosis. It is also estimated that 1.5 to 1.6 million patients received hospice services in 2013 in the United States.7

    I share these research results and statistics to highlight a few patient populations that music therapists serve and to illustrate these patient populations exist in North Dakota. There are currently 14 music therapists licensed in North Dakota; 11 of which are graduates of the UND Music Therapy program. In fact, it was the faculty of the UND program that spearheaded the first in the nation licensure for music therapists. It went into effect in North Dakota on April 1, 2013 (North Dakota Century Code 43-57-03 and 43-59-03). Potentially, if the state feels that not enough music therapists are being licensed in the state, the legislature could choose to sunset the law. Consumer protection (a hallmark of licensure) would be at risk if this is allowed to happen.

    The Music Therapy program at UND began in 2000 and it is the only Music Therapy program in the NDUS system. As a parent, I am proud that my daughter is currently part of a program that has a 100% pass rate on the board certification exam (the national average is 76%) and 100% employment rate of its graduates.
    To me, this speaks volumes to the quality of the program.

    I would also like to address a few key points found in the strategic plan and priorities available on the Music Department’s web site.8-9 I feel this is evidence to support the request for each department to provide what they see as their priorities.

    Bachelor of Music in Music Therapy8 p. 22-23
    , “This degree program is what distinguishes UND Music from other music units in the region.”
    • “There is high external demand for the program, and the base geographic footprint of its recruiting base is wider than that of our other undergraduate degree programs.”
    • ‘There is unanimity among music faculty that the Music Therapy area is of vital importance to the Department, and should be highly prioritized and supported.”
    Strategic Priority Action ltems9 p. 1
    • SHORT TERM (1-3 years)
    Music Therapy. There is unanimity among faculty that Music Therapy is a very high priority for the Department.

    The last item I would like to address is the student learning experience. This is the most difficult part of this letter to write, for as a parent this is where it becomes personal.

    Every student in the music therapy program has his or her own story and student experience. My daughter first started talking about pursuing a degree in music therapy when she was a junior in high school. She has always had a love for music, children, and helping people – music therapy seemed to be a perfect fit. She was exposed to UND’s Department of Music as a selected member of the Honor Band during her junior and senior year of high school. She enjoyed playing under Dr. James Popejoy and was hopeful to do so in college.

    As a native of Grand Forks and alumni of UND, I was thrilled that my daughter, Michaela, was interested in a degree program that was offered at my alma mater. After meeting with Dr. Popejoy and Dr. Andrew Knight (the chair of the Music Therapy program at the time) her decision was easy, UND was a great ‘fit’ for her.

    Michaela was thrilled when she was formally accepted into the Music Therapy program at the end of her freshman year (May 2015). She enjoys the cohort of students that she is learning the art and science of music therapy with and is fearful of losing this; family is what they have become. Though we have been told the current students will be taught out, the program will be down one faculty member at the end of the semester, so I feel this option is in jeopardy.

    Michaela has thoroughly enjoyed her clinical hours within her practicum courses. She and her peers spend a total of 27 hours per week, under the direct supervision of a licensed music therapist, in the community at a variety of facilities (i.e. School for the Blind, Altru Hospital, Valley 4000). These services from the students will be lost if the Music Therapy program is eliminated.

    In addition to her experiences within the music therapy program, she has been a part of the wind ensemble for two years and is currently co-section leader in the saxophone section. Michaela has thoroughly enjoyed playing under Dr. Popejoy. She is thankful to have worked under Professor Rheude during her freshman year and is currently working

    under Dr. Sandberg. According to Michaela, he has been fabulous to work with in his studio. These will be lost to her if she is unable to continue to pursue her degree here at UND.

    An additional student experience that Michaela has cherished here at UND is her involvement in Kappa Alpha Theta. She is uncertain what this will mean for her if she has to go to another institution to complete her degree. She is fully engaged in the sisterhood of this sorority and the thought of having to leave the Theta chapter at UND is heartbreaking to her.

    She has been very fortunate to have received 2 academic scholarships (1 specific to the state of ND and the other from UND) and 1 music scholarship to assist in paying for her schooling. If she is no longer able to complete her program at UND, there is no guarantee that scholarships will be available to her. She is currently on track to graduate with zero debt. This will not be the case if she needs to complete her degree elsewhere out-of-state. The closest undergraduate degree programs (62 of the 70 programs are at the undergraduate level) are: Colorado State (with a Western Undergraduate Exchange
    – base tuition and fees are currently $9041.99 for 15 credits; University of Iowa (base tuition and fees are $14,206.50); and the University of Kansas (tuition and fees are
    $23,774). Scholarship auditions for each of these programs have passed for the upcoming year and through word of mouth I have heard they do not have space for additional music therapy students for the 2016-2017 academic year.

    In closing, I feel there is evidence available to demonstrate how the Music Therapy program more than meets the priorities of the University; the talking points are out there. I respectfully ask for your reconsideration regarding the decision to eliminate the Music Therapy program.

    Cindy Flom-Meland, PT, PhD, NCS

    BSPT from UND1991 MPT from UND 1993
    BS in Psychology from UND 1998
    PhD in Teaching & Learning from UND 2004


    1. American Music Therapy Association. http://www.musictherapy.org/about/history/ accessed on March 13, 2016.
    2. Whipple J. Music in intervention for children and adolescents with autism: a meta-analysis. Journal of Music Therapy. (2)2004;90-106.
    3. Hogan TJ. Coping-infused dialogue through patient-preferred live music: a medical music therapy protocol and randomized pilot study for hospitalized organ transplant patients. Journal of Music Therapy. 52(3), 2015, 420–436.
    4. Hilliard RE. The effect of music therapy on the quality and length of life of people diagnosed with terminal cancer. Journal of Music Therapy. (2)2003;113-137.

    5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/data.html accessed on March 14, 2016.
    6. North Dakota Department of Health, Division of Vital Records. North Dakota Fast Facts 2014. http://www.ndhealth.gov/vital/pubs/ff2014.pdf. Accessed on March 14, 2016.
    7. NHPCO Facts and Figures: Hospice Care in America, Alexandria, VA: National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, October 2014.
    8. UND Music Strategic Planning Guide, March 10, 2015, Guide for the UND Department of Music 2015-2020. http://arts-sciences.und.edu/music/resources/_files/docs/strategic-plan.pdf accessed on March 14, 2016.
    9. UND Music Strategic Priority Action Item, Supplement to UND Music Strategic Planning Guide, March 4, 2015, Spring 2015. http://arts-sciences.und.edu/music/resources/_files/docs/strategic­ plan-priority-items.pdf accessed on March14, 2016.

    • November 7, 2016 at 2:18 pm

      Thank you for your input. Comments specific to the Music Therapy program are being shared with the Arts and Sciences Dean’s Office, the Provost and the President. Your participation in the process is appreciated.

  • November 6, 2016 at 2:19 pm

    Among all of the budget cuts and reprioritization at UND during 2016, the suspension of the music therapy program was undoubtedly the most controversial and least understood by stakeholders and the public.  On a state and national level, leaders in the field of music wrote about the importance of music therapists and the amazing accomplishments of UND’s Music Therapy Program.  Support for the program was loud and clear, from alumni to expert music therapists to internationally respected artists like Ben Folds (who publicly offered to perform concerts in North Dakota to raise money for the UND Music Therapy Program).
    Nonetheless, funding was not the issue for the Music Therapy at UND, as it is a self-sustaining and thriving program.  In fact, it is the only program of its kind between Seattle, WA and Minneapolis, MN.  Students continued to fill the classes and the UND Office of Admissions was “consistently happy with the enrollment numbers for the Music Therapy program.” Faculty members throughout the university were enthusiastic to work with the music therapy students and give them excellent training to work in the field.  With the many line items that have been floated on the chopping block, this one made the least sense of all.
    Perhaps the reason for suspending the program was that it was not seen as a “priority” because the field of music therapy is viewed as “non-essential.” If one is looking for an evidence-based practice, look no further than the literature on music therapy.  Researchers and practitioners continue to provide strong affirmation of music therapy’s effectiveness with a wide variety of populations, including: individuals with autism, hospital patients with serious illness, senior citizens, and individuals suffering from Alzheimer’s/dementia… just to name a few.  A cursory search (Google Scholar or Chester Fritz Library) of scholarly articles will quickly give any reader a snapshot of the ever-increasing benefits of music therapy.
    The bottom line:  UND created a Music Therapy Program at an opportune time and became a leader in music therapy higher education.  UND successfully maintained and grew this program over the past 15 years, preparing graduates who have found careers and are making indelibly positive impacts on society.  Music therapy is a growing field that will continue to expand its beneficial effects on the public and private sector, nationally and internationally.  
    The year of 2016 has been marked by deep budget cuts at UND. Nevertheless, North Dakota state revenues from oil and agriculture will stabilize in the next biennium, and funds will be re-appropriated to the North Dakota University System.  In order to maintain UND’s status as the state’s flagship university, as well as a premiere Liberal Arts institution, Music Therapy and similarly unique programs must be preserved and prioritized.

    The question is, will the University of North Dakota…
    1) Renew its Music Therapy Program, and regain its position as a leader, innovator, and premiere Liberal Arts university?    
    — or —
    2) Permanently cut a thriving program, in effect turning away faculty, students, opportunities, tuition dollars, and other forms of revenue?

    • November 7, 2016 at 2:16 pm

      Thank you for your input. Comments specific to the Music Therapy program are being shared with the Arts and Sciences Dean’s Office, the Provost and the President. Your participation in the process is appreciated.


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