Reaching for the Vision of 2025

President Roger H. Brown used the illustration of a tree with Berklee College of Music, The Boston Conservatory at Berklee, Berklee Online, and the Berklee Valencia Campus as the roots. Integration, innovation, inclusion, and infrastructure will sustain t

Berklee President Roger H. Brown gave a wideranging presentation in November in his annual State of the College and Conservatory address. He shared insights on the combined institution’s current status and on the developing strategic plan to achieve milestones outlined in the Vision for 2025. “The vision is the mountaintop in the distance,” Brown said. “The strategy is the roadmap that tells us how to get there.” The vision statement presents what the college aspires to become by the year 2025 as articulated in 2015 by the Board of Trustees Vision Task Force

Brown spoke enthusiastically about the increased educational options following the merger of Berklee College of Music and The Boston Conservatory, and about the work of harmonizing the two institutions. “I would call this the “Brady Bunch” phase of the merger,” Brown said, smiling. “We’re still getting used to each other, figuring out who is going to do the dishes when, and how the beds get made. But I think we are making excellent progress.”

Brown used the metaphor of a tree to describe the current Berklee community. The roots of the tree are Berklee College of Music, the Boston Conservatory at Berklee, Berklee Online, and the Berklee Valencia Campus.

Currently, there are 15 undergraduate majors, including those offered through the Conservatory, serving 4,169 students. Also, Berklee offers bachelor’s of fine arts degrees through the Conservatory in contemporary dance performance, contemporary theater, and musical theater performance to 387 students. Berklee Online offers seven majors and serves 909 students. Additionally, there are 20 graduate degree programs serving 278 students at Berklee College of Music, the Global Jazz Institute, the Conservatory, and Berklee's campus in Valencia, Spain, programs. There are also master of fine arts degree programs serving 64 students. “We are a more full, robust, and complex organization than we used to be,” Brown said.

He outlined four themes for the new strategic plan: integration, innovation, inclusion, and infrastructure. Integration with the Conservatory and making everything work from the students' perspective is key. Worldwide recruiting efforts will help to build the Conservatory’s global reputation and attract the strongest students. Berklee’s increased social media presence has reached viewers across the world. “Our goal is to have a 19 percent increase in applications to the Conservatory,” Brown said.

Regarding innovation, Berklee will create new programs that build on the shared strengths of the Conservatory and College. One area of focus is musical theater production and technology. “We hope to train people to be music directors, lighting and set designers, and stage managers,” said Brown.

Some two million students have taken free online courses (MOOCs). The number of MOOCs will increase and they will be offered in various languages. Brown also spoke of creating a 21st-century career center with increased paid internships and alumni mentorship. Brown said that Berklee is also exploring possibilities for microcampuses in Los Angeles and New York.

Speaking of infrastructure, Brown spoke of the desire to house more students in new residence halls to enhance student life on campus. He spoke of many updates to the facilities, especially the recently completed entrance to the 150 Massachusetts Avenue building. On the academic front, there are plans to create new programs like the Berkee-Harvard joint degree partnership.

Brown stressed that inclusion is a core value that needs to permeate all that we do. Today, 37 percent of Berklee students are international, 32 percent are ALANA (African, Latin, Asian, and Native American), and 36 percent are women. “We’ve made progress, but there is a lot more to be done,” Brown said.

In closing, Brown stated, “The vision is to create our own niche in the world where good things can happen...and Berklee can be a better place for students.”

View Brown's full address.