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BSC collaborates with DSU on four-year music program

Posted on 2/18/2014

A four-year option to study music on the Bismarck State College campus begins fall semester 2014 for students seeking a baccalaureate degree in music education or performance.

The State Board of Higher Education approved the arrangement between BSC and Dickinson State University in January.

BSC and DSU are now completing the Memorandum of Understanding to formalize the agreement. BSC is considering accreditation from the National Association of Schools of Music as a partner in the collaborative program . DSU's music program has association accreditation.

"It's a win-win for both schools," said John Darling, BSC associate professor of music and Music program coordinator. "For our part, BSC already has music students opting to stay four years because of this agreement."

Music now becomes one of several baccalaureate programs BSC provides through cooperative agreements with DSU, Minot State University, University of North Dakota, and University of Mary, which maintain offices on campus. After sophomore year, students enroll with these institutions but complete most coursework on BSC's campus.

Bruce Southard, DSU music chair, said the college is already broadcasting a pilot music history course to BSC via the Interactive Video Network to prepare for the fall launch. Five BSC students are participating.

"This is another opportunity to expand what we already do," Southard said. "We're entering an era where traditional school is not always possible. Being able to offer programs outside DSU opens options for students."

Under the agreement, some BSC music faculty will teach as DSU adjunct instructors. They will teach conducting and applied music for instrumental and choral majors. Students will fulfill their ensemble performance requirement at BSC.

"We can keep the skills in ensemble here," Darling said. "BSC has talented students. It can be hard to see them go after nurturing them for two years. But now they can stay."

Darling has pushed for a four-year music option since he came, he said. BSC administrators began talks with DSU, Southard and BSC faculty in spring 2013. Everyone was very positive about the collaboration working, he said.

About Bismarck State College
Bismarck State College, an innovative community college in Bismarck, N.D., offers high quality education, workforce training, and enrichment programs reaching local and global communities. For more information, visit

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