ASTA's Collegiate Roundtable

Tenure Issues

The promotion and tenure criteria delineated below are the result of discussion and deliberation among the members of the Collegiate Roundtable of the American String Teachers Association (ASTA-CRT). The Roundtable is comprised of nearly 100 members and represents most of the United States.

Members of the ASTA-CRT believe the promotion and tenure expectations for collegiate faculty members charged with the preparation of string and orchestra teacher differ somewhat from those of music education faculty who specialize in wind, percussion, vocal, and choral instruction. This differentiation is related to the pressure of an on-going shortage of string teachers for schools and the position that string/orchestra programs occupy in American schools and in society at large. String and orchestra programs are less common in schools than other components of music programs; school orchestras, professional orchestra, and community orchestras represent analogous post-secondary opportunities for life-long musical participation.

Finally, applied string faculty and unit heads often rely on music education/string specialists to spearhead the recruitment of string students by organizing events and festivals for pre-collegiate string players. Music Education String Specialists are asked to cultivate the link between collegiate string faculty and their school-based counterparts that is so crucial for student recruitment.

Members of the ASTA CRT offer the following tenure and promotion expectations for music education string specialists (ME-S) in response to the professional context in which they find themselves; specifically, that, relative to other members of a music education department:

  • Music education string specialists and applied string faculty work closely on issues related to student recruitment.
  • Music education string specialists operate under an expectation that they continue to be seen as performing musicians and conductors.
  • Music education string specialists work closely with their school-based counterparts, spending much time in the classroom with school-aged children.
  • Music education string specialists are often called upon to teach courses in string pedagogy for collegiate students who are performance majors interested in studio teaching. This rarely has any counterpart in wind or vocal music education. Teaching string pedagogy courses is in addition to string music education courses.
  • In almost three dozen institutions, music education string specialists are in charge of 4-year practicum experiences or string projects designed to prepare string teachers for schools.
  • Music education string specialists are in relatively greater demand to assist non-string-playing string and orchestra teachers in the schools through on-site and in-service clinics and workshops. According to recent national surveys, approximately one third of those teaching string/orchestra programs do not have stringed instrument background.

Given the aforementioned, some of the suggested criteria may be unique to music education string specialists and should be taken into consideration with the same weight as more traditional scholarly activities.

These represent the scope of activities for a college string music educator. The types of activities may vary based on the needs of the institution (research-based university, teaching-focused college or university, or those with a studio pedagogy rather than string teacher education position).

We believe this document can be used:

  • As a guide to a tenure and promotion dossier (this may be useful for the non-musician who is reviewing a dossier of a string education faculty member);
  • To assist in defining load issues;
  • In helping in revision of tenure and promotion documents of individual music units
Sample job description
Sample activities