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2021-2022 Program Review

1) Unit Profile

1.1) Briefly describe the program-level planning unit. What is the unit's purpose and function?

The American River College Music Department provides education for all incoming students regardless of race, creed, religion, age, or sex. The department serves students of all ages from recent high school graduates to those in their retirement years and provides strong education for a good cross section of ethnicities found at American River College. In serving students outside of the traditional college age, the department provides courses for those who work, care for family members, have a disability, are unable to come to campus, have financial difficulties, and those changing careers.

The Music Department introduces students to those broad areas of human knowledge and understanding that contribute to purposeful and meaningful lives as members of a global community through several areas within its course offerings. Through music ensembles, students are introduced to the music of numerous cultures in both instrumental and vocal offerings. The poetry, rhythm, harmonic function, and cultural norms are examined through the music and are often reinforced with the inclusion of guest lecturers and clinicians. Other courses such as World Music, Introduction to Music: Rock and Roll, Jazz History, and Basic Musicianship address global issues and culture.

The American River College Music Department prepares students to transfer to and succeed at a four-year institution in several ways. The department offers transferable degrees in Traditional Music and Jazz Studies, including the AA-T Transfer Degree in Music, a unique applied music program that prepares students on an individual basis, and many intensive instrumental and vocal performance ensembles in the classical and jazz genres.

1.2) How does the unit contribute to achievement of the mission of American River College?

To be employed in the music field, basic musical skills must be obtained. Many American River College Music Department alumni have gone on to have careers in music education, conducting, and as professional musicians. Many students denied entry into four-year institutions and conservatories have completed their lower-division requirements through the American River College Department of Music to ensure successful transfer, including:

• Basic Musicianship

• Introduction to Music

• Beginning Piano

• Voice classes

• All skill-related classes including applied music and music theory

• Performance courses

The Music Department aligns with ARC's commitment to equity and social justice through equity-minded education, transformative leadership, and community engagement. Our department is focused on providing education to students who are typically underserved by offering courses and support services in various modalities, including both face to face and online. Music faculty and staff continue to attend professional development opportunities focused on equitable teaching practices campus-based events and music industry conferences. Department curriculum is annually curated to ensure a focus on fairness through the lens of social justice, particularly for disproportionately impacted persons. The ARC Music Department continues to engage our community through utilizing ARC Support Services such as DSPS, Home Base for the Arts, Beaver Cares, Veterans Resource Center, among others.

2) Assessment and Analysis

The program review process asks units to reflect on the progress they've made towards achieving the goals they identified in each of the Annual Unit Plans they submitted since their last Program Review. Follow this link to access your previous EMP submissions. For assistance accessing the EMP system, please contact Mary Goodall at or (916) 484-4535.

2.1) Consider the progress that has been made towards the unit's objectives over the last six years. Based on how the unit intended to measure progress towards achieving these objectives, did the unit's prior planned action steps (last six years of annual unit plans) result in the intended effect or the goal(s) being achieved?

Primary Planning Objective: Engage students early and often

Goal Supported: SG1 - Students First

Data Issue: Disproportionate Impact Data Set

Action Title: Increase Engagement with DI Students

The Music Department engages in regular discussions focused on equity as we form new educational paths for our students. Currently, we are working on a fully online degree that would greatly impact our DI student population, granting greater access to those who are home-bound, incarcerated, or unable to fulfill their educational goals due to other inequities.

The ARC Music Department Ensembles have made great strides in increasing engagement with DI Students through our own instructors, guest speakers, clinicians, and concert programming.

ARC Orchestra:

  • Interview/lecture with EMN about sampling, hi-hop, and integration of the cultures of rap music and orchestra
  • Interview/lecture with Edgardo Cambon and demonstration of Afro-Cuban techniques use in various genres of Latin music Focused
  • Interview/lecture with Anna Maria Mendieta and demonstration of flamenco techniques and music of the Spanish diaspora
  • Two Full orchestra performances with Candela: Salsa and Orchestra
  • Two Full orchestra performances with EMN: Hip Hop and Orchestra
  • Two Full orchestra performances with Tango del Cielo: Tango and Orchestra
  • The orchestra also provided a nine-part lecture series on the Music of Mexico which explored indigenous music and art of Mexico and its many cultures, art, and history that was open to the campus community and community at large.

ARC Jazz Ensembles:

Guest Clinician:

  • African American Jazz Trumpeter Endre Rice from the Count Basie Orchestra

Concert programming including works by prominent African American, Latinx, and Afro-Cuban composers and artists including:

  • Count Basie
  • Duke Ellington
  • Benny Carter
  • Oliver Nelson
  • Lee Morgan
  • Poncho Sanchez
  • Eddie Palmieri
  • Oscar Hernandez
  • Wayne Wallace

ARC Choirs:

This spring, ARC Concert Choir will host a high school choral invitational on Friday, March 18, 2022. Choirs from Antelope High School, Granite Bay High School, and John Adams Academy, and the Mariachi Band from Mira Loma High School will join ARC Concert Choir to perform a concert entitled Neighborhood: Music of the World We Share. The invitational will include:

  • A workshop focusing on the history of Arabic music, how Arabic music works, what makes it beautiful
  • Collaborative rehearsals

A concert including:

  • Cielito Lindo and De Colores with the Mira Loma HS Mariachi Band
  • Lammaa Badaa Yatathannaa with world class guest artists from Lebanon, Palestine, Bolivia who reside in Sacramento and the Bay Area: Georges Lammam, violin, Gabriel Navia, guitar, and Rola Al Ashkar, voice
  • Svete tixìj, a setting of an old Slavic church text by Ukrainian composer Roman Hurko
  • This Marriage, a setting of a poem by Sufi poet Rumi
  • Tyger by Elaine Hagenberg
  • Warm Up by Leonard Bernstein, an early advocate for equity in classical music

The choice of music is based on the need to:

  • continue to decentralize Western European choral music
  • end othering of music that is not Western European
  • perform music that better represents the performers and audience members
  • celebrate our connections with people within and beyond our immediate community

ARC Vocal Jazz Ensemble:

Performed music by African American composers:

  • Bobby Timmons
  • Horace Silver
  • Larry Dunn
  • Billie Holiday
  • Hogey Carmichael
  • Thelonious Monk
  • Duke Ellington

Jewish Composers

  • Sigmund Romberg
  • Jule Styne
  • George Gershwin

Female Composers/arrangers

  • Kristen Korb
  • Michele Weir

Latinx Composer

  • Rosana Eckert

Brazilian Composers

  • Antonio Carlos Jobim

Workshops with

  • Kim Nazarian
  • Michele Weir


Primary Planning Objective: Provide easily recognizable pathways through ARC

Goal Supported: SG2 - Clear and Effective Paths

Data Issue: Enrollment Data Set

Action Title: Implement Music Major Cohorts for Success

Post pandemic, the ARC Music Department will implement small cohorts of Music Majors, including our DI populations, that meet regularly with a faculty mentor to monitor progress through their pathway to completion. The cohort program will promote early detection of potential concern and guidance for needed support, including tutoring, time management, and career opportunities

Primary Planning Objective: Utilize innovative, high-quality instructional methods and technologies

Goal Supported: SG3 - Exemplary Teaching, Learning & Working Environment

Data Issue: Department Set Standards Data Set

Action Title: Investigate Online Music Degree

The Music Department has set a goal to achieve one of the first fully online Music Degrees in the California Community College system. We have spent the last few semesters updating all our curriculum to include online modality and are in the process of fine-tuning the online degree.

Primary Planning Objective: Provide a high level of service to our students, community, and to one another

Goal Supported: SG4 - Vibrancy and Resiliency

Data Issue: Disproportionate Impact Data Set

Action Title: Service to under-represented student populations

Along with underrepresented student populations as demonstrated in Increase Engagement with DI Students, the ARC Music Department provides events for underserved student populations such as Housing Insecure and Veterans.

Last fall, ARC Concert Choir collaborated with Valerie Adger and Martin Tellez of ARC Beaver Cares Basic Needs Center in a concert, entitled Winter's Reach and was livestreamed on December 7, 2021 to:

  • reach students experiencing food and housing insecurity
  • raise awareness of the resources among the campus and surrounding community
  • encourage support for the program.

ARC students who have participated in the program spoke about their experience. One of the Concert Choir students read her original poem about her own unhoused brother.

Each Spring, the ARC Jazz Ensembles hold an event entitled “A Tribute to the War Years” in partnership with the ARC Veterans Resource Center which provides:

  • Free admission for Veterans
  • Recognition of service
  • Resources and information for Veterans

In the Fall of 2020 and Spring of 2021, ARC ensembles performed livestream concerts in conjunction with the ARC Homebase for the Arts allowing for online access to concert during the campus closure due to the pandemic. The Music Department plans to continue these sort of offerings on an annual basis.?????Pr????

Primary Planning Objective: Provide a high level of service to our students, community, and to one another

Goal Supported: SG4 - Vibrancy and Resiliency

Data Issue: Productivity Data Set

Action Title: Full Time Choral Instructor

In the Spring of 2021, the ARC Music Department lost three full-time instructors due to retirement. These include:

  • Band Director
  • Choral Director
  • Commercial Music Instructor

The Music Department applied for all three positions and received two positions including Band and Commercial Music. We continue to apply for the Choral Director position which will support the vocal music program at ARC, including directing vocal performance groups, and mentoring faculty and students interested in vocal music.

In the following program-level metrics, a green-yellow-red light icon provides a quick sense of how a particular data set's values relate to an established threshold (click '+' for details).

The following data sets may be useful in promoting and informing departmental dialogue, planning, decision making, and resource allocation.

The two data sets show 5 years of fall or spring duplicated enrollment, disaggregated by gender and ethnicity. Note that ARC's data-on-demand tool will soon provide considerably more sophisticated ways of viewing and analyzing your planning unit's headcount and enrollment trends.

current fall/spring semester enrollment is equal to or exceeds the prior year's fall/spring enrollment.
current fall/spring semester enrollment reflects a decline of less than 10% from the prior year's fall/spring enrollment.
current fall/spring semester enrollment reflects a decline of 10% or more from the prior year's fall/spring enrollment.

The two data sets show 5 years of fall or spring productivity (WSCH per FTEF: the enrollment activity for which we receive funding divided by the cost of instruction). Note that ARC's data-on-demand tool will soon provide considerably more sophisticated ways of viewing and analyzing your planning unit's productivity trends.

current fall/spring semester productivity is equal to or exceeds the prior year's fall/spring productivity.
current fall/spring semester productivity reflects a decline of less than 10% from the prior year's fall/spring productivity.
current fall/spring semester productivity reflects a decline of 10% or more from the prior year's fall/spring productivity.

Shows green-yellow-red indicators for each race/ethnicity to reflect the extent to which any given group's three year average grade metrics are disproportionately impacted, as defined by the State Chancellor's Office (click the report link for details). Note that ARC's data-on-demand tool can provide some additional insights in this area, including representativeness, grades and awards by gender and race/ethnicity.

No measurable DI — All courses’ rates exceed the disproportionate impact threshold for a given racial/ethnic group by at least three percentage points.
Yellow (formerly, “- - “ in previous versions or cycles)
Insufficient data available — Monitoring recommended. DI may or may not or exist for one or more racial/ethnic groups, in one or more courses, but too little data is available to be certain (cell sizes < 10).
Light-Red (formerly yellow in previous versions or cycles)
Potential DI—Monitoring or Action recommended. The rate of one or more racial/ethnic groups, in one or more courses, is near (by less than 3 points) the DI threshold.
Clear DI—Action recommended. The rate of one or more racial/ethnic groups, in one or more courses, is at or below the DI threshold.

Department Set Standards

Shows course success rates (# of A, B, C, Cr, and P grades expressed as a % of total grade notations) compared to lower and upper thresholds. Thresholds are derived using a 95% confidence interval (click the report link for details). The lower threshold is referred to as the Department Set Standard. The upper threshold is referred to as the Stretch Goal.

Most recent academic year exceeds the upper threshold
Most recent academic year falls between the lower and upper threshold
Most recent academic year falls below the lower threshold

The faculty's continuous review of student achievement of course SLOs is documented using the Authentic Assessment Review Record (AARR), which involves a review of student work demonstrating achievement of the course SLO. Faculty record student achievement for a randomly assigned course SLO based on one or more authentic assessments that they regularly perform in their classes. The aggregated results are then reviewed annually as part of Annual Unit Planning, in which the results may serve as the basis for actions and, if applicable, resource allocation, and are aligned with college goals and objectives.

The AARR summary link provides an aggregate of the results of the most recent AARR implementation. The AARR results by SLO link provides a more detailed view, including the specific ratings assigned by faculty to each randomly assigned course SLO, and what, if any, actions were taken.

Note: Established thresholds (i.e., green/yellow/red indicators) have yet to be developed for SLO data.

Email Standard Data Set link

In addition to reflecting on the metrics shown above, it may prove useful to analyze other program-level data to assess the effectiveness of your unit. For instructional units, ARC’s Data on demand system can be used to provide program and course level information regarding equitable outcomes, such as program access or enrollment, successful course completion, and degree or certificate achievement (up to 30+ demographic or course filters are available).

You might also consider pursuing other lines of inquiry appropriate to your unit type (instructional, student support, institutional/administrative support). Refer to the Program Review Inquiry Guide for specific lines of inquiry.

2.2) What were the findings? Please identify program strengths, opportunities, challenges, equity gaps, influencing factors (e.g., program environment), data limitations, areas for further research, and/or other items of interest.

The strength of our program is defined by a skilled, diverse music faculty, our college's and department’s reputation in the community, our equipment and outstanding facilities, our exceptional support services, and the success of our students. Our sequence of courses in the music major (music theory, applied music, music history, and performing ensembles) continue to provide our students a quality foundation for transfer to four-year institutions and our variety of popular, general elective offerings serve a large number of non-music major students in our campus community.  All contribute to the music department’s effectiveness in higher education in Northern California. 


Our opportunities include the opening of three FT faculty positions in the department, the ability to build on the department’s historical foundation, and the anticipated contributions of our new colleagues, through their strengths and talents. The department is developing instruction and philosophy associated with online learning through the exploration of new technologies and software that can lead to an effective, asynchronous online music degree. An asynchronous online music degree is new in the California Community College system and will address equity issues for students who cannot attend courses on campus.  The department is committed to maintaining strong face-to-face and hybrid programs and sees the value in creating flexible delivery for our students. The department embraces the campus mission of equity and social justice awareness and the opportunity to continually evaluate our curriculum in all courses and degree programs 


Challenges include recovery of our enrollment from the Covid-19 global pandemic and an awareness of the efforts of our local K-12 schools, our sister colleges, and our universities to re-build their own music programs.  The department has experienced a loss in numbers of students in performance courses and in the music major sequence through the difficulties associated with the pandemic.  The department is also challenged by the loss of three full-time faculty. An increase in the number of new adjunct faculty - although accomplished, capable, and valued - challenges the organizational structure of the department in maintaining daily operations and curriculum at a difficult time in the college’s history.

Equity Gaps 

From the State Chancellor’s Disproportionate Impact Report:  

MUFHL 300 (Introduction to Music – average course success rate = 69.9%) has a disproportionate impact on the course success rate for African American (53%), Hispanic/Latino (60.9%), and Multi-Race (60.8%) students. Student categories with no DI include Asian (80.8%), Filipino (75.4%), Pacific Islander (70%), Unknown (68.8%), and White (75.5%).  Native American and Other Non-White categories have too small of a sample for analysis.   

Males (65.9%) are generally an area of concern in success rate. African American females (60.8%) and males (44.9%), Filipino males (66.7%), Hispanic/Latino females (63.5%) and males (57.3%), and Multi-Race females (61.1%) and males (61.1%) are all categories of concern. 

MUFHL 321 (Basic Musicianship – average course success rate = 69.2%) has a disproportionate impact on the course success rate for African American (51.1%) and Hispanic/Latino (63.8%) students.  Student categories with no DI include Asian (72.7%), Filipino (80%), White (74%), Unknown (85.7%), and Multi-Race (64.8%).  Native American, Pacific Islander, and Other Non-White categories have too small of a sample for analysis.   

Males (65.6%) are generally an area of concern in success rate. African American females (50%) and males (52.5%), Hispanic/Latino females (64.8%) and males (62.7%), and Multi-Race females (67.3%) and males (59.5%) are all categories of concern. 

MUFHL 400 (Music Theory and Musicianship I – average course success rate = 47%) has a disproportionate impact on the course success rate for Hispanic/Latino (30%), Multi-race (42.9%), and White (50.6%) students. Student categories with no DI include Asian (80%). African American, Filipino, Native American, Other Non-White, and Unknown categories have too small a sample for analysis. 

Males (41.8%) are generally an area of concern in success rate. Hispanic/Latino females (30%) and males (31.6%), Multi-Race females (46.2%), and White males (42.9%) are all categories of concern. 

Influencing Factors 

The department is unaware of influencing factors that are outside those that ordinarily affect disproportionately impacted students and the exacerbation of those factors through the effects of the global pandemic.  In response, the department is examining the implementation of a variety of delivery methods, course and program curricula, tutoring opportunities, outreach to affected communities, and equity-advancing training of Music Department faculty.

The courses chosen for this review, while good representations of the department, do not include popular electives in our World Music, Introduction to Music: Rock& Roll, or Jazz History, which may have more diversity in enrollment according to race.  In several categories in this DI report, the courses reviewed did not have enough students to collect data.   

Data Limitations 

In some categories, there are too few enrolled students to produce clear results. This picture of the department may have been affected by a variety of factors related to the pandemic difficulties of converting on-ground courses to online courses, student difficulties in moving to an online environment, and other extraneous causes. 

Areas for Further Research 

The department is researching a variety of delivery methods in order to provide equitable opportunities for our students.  Our work toward an asynchronous online degree continues with discussions and research about available voice-recognition software for ear-training, effective construction and evaluation of music theory exercises, an examination of performance ensemble studies in an online environment, and continued evaluation of methods, organization, and funding in applied music – particularly as the department projects growth with these offerings.  The hope is that through greater choice and accessibility, DI group variations will minimize. 

Other Items of Interest 

The department is exploring expansion of performance ensemble offerings under the category of “special ensembles” as a component of the online degree program, but also as an opportunity for diverse performance group options for our students.  Four semesters of performance ensemble experience are required for our music degrees.

3) Reflection and Dialog

3.1) Discuss how the findings relate to the unit's effectiveness. What did your unit learn from the analysis and how might the relevant findings inform future action?

The ARC Music Department continues to evaluate all aspects of the program from individual courses, certificates, and degrees, to performance ensemble programming, textbooks, tutoring offerings, delivery methods, new technologies, and educational advances.  In recognition of disproportionately impacted students, the department is designing fully asynchronous, online, learning for our AA-T degree, a first in the California Community College system.  In recognition of social justice and equity initiatives, the department continues to support training, review, and implementation of methods that address these issues while maintaining and enhancing the strength of the existing program. 

3.2) What is the unit's ideal future and why is it desirable to ARC? How will the unit's aspirations support accomplishment of the mission, improve institutional effectiveness, and/or increase academic quality?

The unit’s ideal future reflects a spectrum of pedagogical delivery modalities, including a completely face-to-face program experience, a hybrid experience of face-to-face courses mixed with online offerings, a completely online program experience that is the combination of synchronous and asynchronous courses, and the potential for a completely asynchronous music major. This is desirable because it serves the needs of every student; traditional residents, working students, distance learners, and those unable to access the campus. 

Our aspirations support the elements of the mission;

1.    Participation in the community; faculty outreach to local high schools, participate in summer programs, offer summer programs, and the new music education program is providing opportunities for our students to have work experience and mentor under established teachers in the K-12 schools.

2.    Basic skills; the department offers a variety of general education courses, as well as provides the foundational background for our music majors in the first two years of a bachelor of arts curriculum. We offer three associate degrees in music as well as have a strong transfer program to CSU, UC, and private schools.

Regarding institutional student learning outcomes, as a reflection of our institutional effectiveness and academic quality, the music department will;

1.    demonstrate skills and behaviors which contribute to inclusive and respectful delivery of diverse ideas and beliefs by regularly updating our curriculum to department, school, district, and state standards reflecting an equitable frame. 

2.    offer multicultural courses and courses that highlight diversity. 

3.    hire faculty that represent diverse populations and ideologies through the implementation of “hiring the Best” practices. 

4.    utilize a variety of delivery methods to communicate effectively and equitably through our course offerings. 

5.    critically evaluate our programs and develop informed perspectives through our annual unit plans, program reviews, and regular curriculum cycles. 

We will continue to improve our academic quality by the careful scrutiny and updating of our curriculum, textbooks, hiring faculty through an equitable process, and regular participation in workshops and symposiums.

4) Strategic Enhancement

4.1) Identify/define one or more program-level objectives which enhance the unit's effectiveness. What does your unit intend to do to work towards its ideal future? How will success be measured?

A program-level SLO for our Associate’s Degree in Music reads as follows;

  • compare and contrast the characteristics of various musical cultures and historical periods from the origin of music history to the present.

The American River College music department offers several courses which highlight various musical cultures and historical periods. These courses include;

  • Survey of Music History and Literature from antiquity to the present, which primarily covers music of the European diaspora. 
  • World Music, which covers significant contributions to music from every corner of the globe. 
  • History of Rock 'n' Roll, which covers commercial music of the world over the past 80 years. 
  • Jazz History, which covers the significant contributions of African Americans and other ethnicities of the African diaspora through improvised music around the world over the past 120 years.

Our ideal future focuses on offering a breadth of lower-division curricula to our students, which represent music from around the world and throughout history, from a variety of cultures, subcultures, and races, offered in every available delivery method, to ensure that all students achieve their general education or degree goals and become informed citizens. 

Success will be measured by the number of students enrolled in our courses, retention rates, success rates, graduation rates, qualitative analysis of student evaluations of instructors of these courses during the peer review process, and by meeting established campus wide, district, and statewide success goals.

4.2) How will the unit's intended enhancements support ARC's commitment to social justice and equity?

The American River College music department serves students of all ages, from recent high school graduates to those in their retirement years. In serving students outside of the traditional college age, the music department provides courses for those who work, care for family members or live with a disability themselves, or have financial challenges. Recently, the music department (unit) has expanded its degree offerings to provide a complete major degree program for students both on-campus and off-campus. Thanks to our new off-campus offerings, we are now able to serve a diverse student population from throughout the region, the state and nationally. 

The music department (unit) offers within the curriculum of its theory classes, history classes, and performance ensembles, access to a broad range of underrepresented cultural and social experiences. Included in these courses are the compositions, writings, performances and clinics of African-American, female, Latinx, and LGBTQIA+ composers, theorists, musicians, and clinicians. Whether it is the exposure to a Mariachi band, Poncho Sanchez, Antonia Carlos Jobim, Rosana Eckert, Kim Nazarian, hip hop and rap with orchestra, Arabic music, and performing with trans-gender classmates, the music department (the unit) completely embraces DI students.