Arts & Culture

For Music Teachers School is Back in Session Online at UK

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 10, 2020) As school semesters began to come to an end in May, the harsh reality that summer would look quite different due to the coronavirus epidemic began to set in. Many could see on the horizon the inevitable changes and even cancellations coming to summer sports leagues and camps, but few may have considered the changes to professional development programming.  

While the University of Kentucky campus tends to be quieter in the summer, it is home to several sports and academic camps for children of all ages, university sponsored and outside conferences, and, of course, orientation programming for incoming Wildcats. In addition, many of its colleges also offer several professional development opportunities for professionals in their fields of instruction.

To continue to offer these rewarding experiences to various types of instructors and administrators across the state and beyond, Teaching, Learning, and Academic Innovation is working with colleges to adapt several professional development programs to an online landscape referred to as Catalog. The initiative will allow participants that are not students, faculty or staff at UK to take part in these experiences using a non-academic version of the university’s Canvas platform.

Broadly, Catalog provides a platform for faculty to engage public and professional audiences in innovative ways that are responsive to emerging needs. It represents an opportunity to think creatively about the work of teaching across the disciplines, as well as how we can expand our reach and impact as teacher-scholars at the state’s flagship university.

“We are excited to be working with the School or Music and others to explore the additional online options in Canvas provided by Catalog,” said Patsy Carruthers, senior director of Teaching, Learning, and Academic Innovation. “It’s our hope that it provides another avenue for college, department, and faculty programming to reach the community.”

Helping lead the transition online is a beta group of programming under the direction of Martina Vasil, assistant professor of music education and director of the Music Education Summer Institute at the School of Music in the UK College of Fine Arts. Vasil is a great fit to lead this pilot program as she oversees the School of Music’s Modern BandOrff Schulwerk and Dalcroze Eurhythmics workshops for music educators across the Commonwealth annually.

“Canceling the summer music education programming was a tough, but necessary, decision for the health and safety of our instructors and participants. I was thrilled to learn about Catalog, as it has facilitated the process for offering supplemental professional development online,” Vasil said. “While this will in no way replace the in-person experience, Catalog allows non-UK students to access Canvas, which is such an easy platform on which to build an online course. I am excited about future possibilities for offering professional development through Catalog and plan to schedule programming through it beyond just this summer.”

Vasil was able to quickly organize and help adapt several professional development options for Catalog, including the following:

  • Dalcroze, an online course on the use of eurhythmics, solfège and improvisation, running June 11-Aug. 7.
  • Artful-Playful-Mindful in Action, a module that leads participants through Orff teacher Jane Frazee’s project-based curricular model, running June 25-July 10.
  • Popular Music and Orff Schulwerk, a module on using the Orff approach to bring popular music into the classroom, running July 9-24.
  • The Art of Child’s Play, an Orff module on employing playground games and other materials from kids’ lives in the classroom, running July 23-Aug. 7.

“I hope that teachers will find these online courses a rewarding experience that will grow their knowledge in the Dalcroze and/or Orff Schulwerk approaches to music education. I also hope that the courses prove useful as teachers plan for an uncertain school year ahead,” Vasil said.

In addition to the music programming, there is also an Arts Emergency Management workshop being offered by UK Department of Arts Administration via Catalog. This program for arts administrators will provide them with skills to develop and routinely update emergency plans for areas of public assembly, running Aug. 3-Oct. 4.

A list of all Catalog programming options, dates and costs can be found at:

“Most of the current programming is in the experimental or planning stages,” Carruthers noted, “but in the coming months we hope to see more offerings that will broaden the variety of enriching experiences from the University of Kentucky.”

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.