Self-study is the core of the accreditation review. Applicants should devote considerable thought to specific purposes for their self-study process beyond the preparation of a document for NASM. Whatever the purposes, the focus should be on self-evaluation rather than reporting. The self-study process and the written document can have a profound impact on cohesion of purpose, common understanding of challenges and opportunities, strategic thinking, and operational planning. The specific emphases, however, are developed by each institution.
Specifically, self-study is a process in which the faculty and administrative and governing bodies declare what they want the music unit to be and make their own appraisal of its present accomplishments and future potential. This is done with reference to NASM standards and the institution’s own standards and aspirations. The goal of comprehensive review is to understand, evaluate, and improve, not merely to defend what exists. Students, alumni, and others both on- and off-campus can offer helpful perspectives.
The self-study process eventually results in a document that can be used for both institutional and accreditation purposes.