NASM provides three format options (Formats A, B, and C) under the title Procedures for the Self-Study Document, as well as an option for creating a custom format under certain circumstances. Before choosing a format, please review the specific information below.
Within the eligibility requirements below, each institution determines which format will best serve its needs at the time of the self-study. Each format provides a framework. Using this framework as a basis, the institution summarizes the results of its self-study process, and documents its fulfillment of NASM standards. The formats have common elements and address the same types of issues, but provide different ways to consider present conditions and future plans. For example: In Format A, the framework does not emphasize one evaluation perspective over any other; Format B emphasizes situational analysis and planning for the music unit as a whole; and Format C, analysis and planning for component programs.
For custom formats, the music unit creates its own evaluation perspectives and emphases. Please contact the NASM staff for further assistance in selecting a Self-Study format.
Please Note: Format A is the successor to the Standard Format of the 2003 Procedures for Institutional Membership.
Eligibility for Format A
All institutions applying for NASM Membership or renewal of Membership.
Structure for Format A
This format poses specific questions derived from requirements presented in operational and curricular standards and guidelines in the NASM Handbook. (It is imperative that the outline presented in the Procedures for Self-Study Document: Format A be used, rather than the outline of the NASM Handbook.)
Format A, for the most part, follows the order but not the outline letters and numbers of first the operational and then the curricular standards and guidelines in the NASM Handbook. For example, one section of the operational standards, “Evaluation, Planning, and Projections,” is taken completely out of order and addressed in Section III of Format A.
Several Considerations Regarding Format A
Format A may be most appropriate if the music unit:
- Is applying for NASM Membership for the first time;
- Seeks to focus most on evaluating what exists or is projected in terms of fulfilling NASM standards;
- Seeks to develop or update a baseline reference document about operations, curricula, and future needs, including updating a Self-Study document in the Standard Format of the 2003 NASM Procedures for Institutional Membership, or the Self-Study document of the 1998 NASM Procedures for Institutional Membership.
Format A may not be appropriate if the music unit:
- Wishes to focus on an integrated analysis of component parts;
- Seeks to conduct a comprehensive futures study of all specific program areas;
- Has demonstrated fulfillment of NASM standards in many previous reviews and seeks a Self-Study focused more on improvement, next steps, strategic planning, concentrated review of a particular area, or similar objectives.
Please Note: Format B is the successor to the Portfolio Format in the 2003 Procedures for Institutional Membership.
Eligibility for Format B
- Institutions applying for NASM Membership after Associate Membership.
- Institutions applying for renewal of Membership.
- Institutions applying for Membership for the first time, with the advice and consent of the NASM Executive Director.
Structure for Format B
This format poses a set of related planning questions about the operational aspects of the music unit as addressed by NASM standards, followed by a descriptive evaluation of each curricular program and projections regarding its future. It concludes with a summary section on challenges, opportunities, and prioritization of work for improvement in operational and curricular areas. In sections dealing with music unit operations and/or projections and futures, it seeks evaluative essays rather than answers to specific questions.
Several Considerations Regarding Format B
Format B may be appropriate if the music unit:
- Seeks to document fulfillment of NASM standards but to focus most on the strategic issues and opportunities facing the unit as a whole;
- Wishes to consider in some depth the relationships among various program elements such as purposes, size and scope, finances, faculty, facilities and equipment, etc., using NASM standards as a reference point;
- Plans to use the Self-Study as a futures or strategic planning document in contexts other than NASM review; or
- Seeks to update a Self-Study text written in the Portfolio Format of the 2003 NASM Procedures for Institutional Membership.
Format B is probably not appropriate if the music unit:
- Wishes to focus the Self-Study on specific curricular areas or programs more than on the music unit as a whole;
- Wants to conduct the NASM review primarily in terms of standards compliance; or
- Would be challenged to allocate administrative and faculty time necessary for the organizational, analytical, and writing requirements of the format.
Please Note: Format C is the successor to the Strategic Analysis Format in the 2003 Procedures for Institutional Membership.
Eligibility for Format C
- Multipurpose and free-standing degree- and non-degree-granting institutions applying for renewal of Membership, only after receipt of advice and consent from the Executive Director.
Structure for Format C
This format begins with informational and evaluative questions regarding each curriculum and area of emphasis.
Its core feature poses strategic questions regarding programs within the music unit. These questions may be answered separately or in an integrated way. To determine programs, the unit divides its entire set of offerings into groupings, usually by specialization – composition, performance, music theory, etc. – or also by function – undergraduate musicianship, library, ensembles, etc. These questions provide a means for connecting program futures issues with operational and curricular issues – purposes, size and scope, finances, etc. that are found in the NASM standards.
It concludes with a summary list of music unit goals and objectives for future development, based on a synthesis of the findings regarding the programs, and plans and prospects for realizing those goals and objectives.
Several Considerations Regarding Format C
Format C may be appropriate if the music unit:
- Has degree programs at more than one degree level in the same area of specialization–i.e., B.M., M.M., PhD., in Theory; B.M., M.M., in Music Education, etc.
- Has specific programs such as undergraduate theory, ensembles, library, outreach, etc. that it wishes to review.
- Wishes to engage the faculty in looking at the future of the programs that constitute their areas of specialization and responsibility;
- Wishes to take an operational or curricular component (sometimes referred to as a “cross-cutting” issue) and have it reviewed from the perspectives of various programs; or
- Seeks to update a Self-Study text written in the Strategic Analysis Format of the 2003 NASM Procedures for Institutional Membership.
Format C may not be appropriate if the music unit:
- Wishes the music unit as a whole to be the main perspective from which the Self-Study is conducted;
- Is concerned that separate program reviews would adversely affect a sense of common purpose or future cooperation;
- Wants to conduct the NASM review primarily in terms of standards compliance;
- Would be challenged to allocate administrative and faculty time, resources and skills to organizing, coordinating, reporting, and synthesizing the separate program studies; or
- Has just completed or has other regular evaluative procedures that accomplish specialized program reviews that focus on strategic futures analysis.