Music department receives accreditation from NASM

Doane Choir

Doane University’s music department has been granted accreditation by the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM), joining eight other in-state institutions to receive this distinction.


The process to become accredited was a multi-year process, according to Dr. Jay Gilbert, department chair and director of instrumental music.


The process unofficially began in the Fall of 2009 when Dr. Maureen Franklin, former dean of faculty at Doane, suggested that the music department have an external review. The university brought in Dr. James Ripley of Carthage College in Kenosha, Wisconsin to do so. Four years later, in the Fall of 2013, Dr. Lance Nielsen, former faculty member at Doane and current supervisor of music at Lincoln Public Schools, encouraged that Doane go through a review with the NASM. Nielsen wrote a first draft of the self-study that was submitted to the organization.


After updates to the self-study were made and changes were implemented, NASM visited Doane’s campus in March of 2017, kicking off a series of events that would ultimately lead to the NASM granting Doane accreditation in November 2018.


“This accreditation does a number of things for us,” Dr. Gilbert said. “Most importantly, it shows that our program is headed in the right direction. Secondly, it shows to the institution that the support we are offering to music students meets national requirements. Finally, it affirms that our students are meeting the national standards and gives them the confidence to know that they will have a great chance at getting into a graduate program of their choosing.”


The accreditation affects three degree programs at Doane: music, music performance, and music education.


By NASM standards, roughly half of a student’s undergraduate credits in the program are to be music-related. For Doane’s purposes, the recommendation was to have 60 of a required 123 credits to graduate be in music. When Doane first underwent the review, the music department didn’t have enough courses to fill that requirement, so additional courses were added over time.


Doane currently has four full-time faculty members in the music department and 35 adjunct faculty. The full-time faculty members are Dr. Gilbert, Dr. Kurt Runestad, Kathleen Ohlman, and Matthew Fuerst. Dr. Runestad is the director of choral and vocal activities, Ohlman oversees the music education program, and Fuerst is an associate professor of music.


As Doane went through the review by the NASM to ensure its program meets national requirements, not only was the curriculum updated, but some facilities were updated as well. Dr. Gilbert says the practice rooms have more sound acoustical treatment after some refurbishing and some additional equipment, including new pianos, were purchased.


“This whole process caused us as an institution to look at what our shortcomings were and to address those,” Gilbert said. “We’re in really good shape. Music is a thriving program here.”


While Doane University as a whole is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, Doane’s music department becomes the third department within the university to receive specialized accreditation. The College of Education is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) and the nursing program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Additionally, Doane is seeking out accreditation for its engineering, counseling, and business programs.


More information on Doane’s music department can be found at