August 14, 2018: Quarterly Update

Greetings to all! I thank you for your continued interest in the Peabody Institute.  I would like to update you on a number of important items related to the Institute over the past year, with a focus on numerical results in key areas, as well as take a look forward.

FY18 Results – first year of five-year plan

The recently completed FY18 represented the first year in a five-year plan by Peabody to make investments in new degree programs and the Breakthrough Curriculum, strengthen and right-size existing programs, increase student and faculty resources, and begin the process of eliminating a longstanding structural deficit, thereby continuing to strengthen Peabody’s financial underpinning. The five-year roadmap “operationalizes” the Breakthrough Plan and its strategic pillars laid out three years ago.

Preliminary results for FY18 indicate that Peabody will finish ahead of plan – better than projected in the FY18 budget.  Specifically, a planned GAAP (includes depreciation) result of ($3.1M) is now expected to be ($1.87M), $1.23M favorable to plan.

The improved position of the Institute was due largely to better-than-budgeted enrollment, fundraising exceeding goals, and ongoing expense controls.

FY2018 Fundraising Results

FY18 was a breakout year for development when measured in fundraising and in cash received. Fundraising for FY18 totaled $8.12M, a 55 percent increase over FY17 and 140 percent of the FY18 fundraising goal, due largely to a $3M unrestricted bequest. While gifts, pledges, and estate commitments are the lifeblood of development, “cash in” is what allows us to support our growth and make needed programmatic investments in real time. In total this year, cash came to $7.25M, the highest in a decade. Current-use cash, an area targeted for growth and critical to sustaining current operations, totaled $3.29M in FY18, measured against $2.35M in FY17, a 40 percent increase.  Of note was a $1M current-use gift secured to be fulfilled over seven years.

Congratulations to our development team for a year of hard work and strong results. In addition, no fundraising effort can succeed without great volunteers. We salute the members of our Peabody Institute Advisory Board who have worked hard to help advance Peabody’s vision.

Admissions & Enrollment

With the results all in, we can report a very successful admissions season. Our largest incoming class in recent years, with 283 new students enrolling for Fall 2018 (119 undergraduate and 164 graduate students), includes inaugural classes in two new undergraduate programs – BM in New Media and the BFA in Dance. Our incoming class represents 29 states and 12 countries with China, Korea, and Taiwan continuing as the top three countries of origin outside the U.S. Total enrollment is projected to exceed 600 students during the 2018-19 academic year, up from 575 in 2017-18, exclusive of double degree students.

This year 2,037 students applied to Peabody, up 18 percent over 2017, reflecting the largest applicant pool in our history. While applications increased across the board, the most significant increase was in undergraduate domestic applications (27 percent over 2017), reflecting a number of new recruitment initiatives, continued investments in scholarship and financial aid, exciting new offerings, the Breakthrough Curriculum, and the reputation of our outstanding faculty. Importantly, not only have we met or exceeded our enrollment goals across the Conservatory, but also the overall talent level is among the highest in recent years as indicated by faculty audition ratings.

In addition to other initiatives, this next year Peabody introduces an Early Decision option for applicants to the Peabody/Hopkins Double Degree program, as well as New Media, Dance, and Jazz. This will provide an opportunity for students who have identified Peabody as their first choice school to apply and receive their decision by December 15.

Congratulations to Peabody’s admissions team as well as our outstanding studio faculty for these impressive results.

New Faculty

Peabody derives its greatest strength from its outstanding faculty. More than thirty new full-time, part-time, and adjunct faculty join Peabody beginning this fall. These include an exciting new cohort of jazz faculty under the leadership of incoming chair Sean Jones: Alex Brown, Kris Funn, Tim Green, Quincy Philips, Matt Stevens, Charenee Wade, and Warren Wolf, as well as artist-in-residence Wycliffe Gordon. In addition, the launch of a new BFA program in dance led by danah bella brings new faculty this year including Deidre Dawkins, Ralph Glenmore, Florian Rouiller, Kristen Stevenson, as well as Jhon Stronks and Yin Yue as artists-in-residence.  Exciting additions to the wind and brass faculty include Brad Balliett (Bassoon), Wei-Ping Chou (Horn), Margaret Owens (Baroque Oboe), Abel Pereira (Horn), and Robert Rearden (Horn), while internationally renowned violinist Vadim Gluzman joins as Distinguished Artist in Residence. New academic classroom faculty include Andrea Westcot (Humanities), Chris Ceary (Psychology), Melissa Hullman (Professional Studies), Matthew Reese (Musicology), Patrick Roney (Humanities), Paul Sommerfeld (Musicology) and Eric Usner (Musicology).

We look forward to welcoming these new faculty members to the Peabody community.

Diversity at Peabody

Diversity became one of Peabody’s five strategic pillars this past year, and our focus in this area is beginning to effect change. Of more than fifty new faculty welcomed over a two-year period, 28 percent are underrepresented minorities. This fall a total of 22 faculty members (or 12 percent) will be underrepresented minorities as compared with 11 members (or 7 percent) in the previous year.

We are equally excited about progress being made in diversifying the student cohort. Through new admissions initiatives like the Blue Ribbon School program, applications from underrepresented minority students increased 58 percent to 224 applications for fall 2018 enrollment, up from 142 last year. Thirty-eight of those applicants have enrolled, up 52 percent from last year. At this time, the total underrepresented minority student cohort for the 2018-19 academic year is projected to be 75 to 80 students – the largest to date, representing nearly 12 percent of the total student body, and a 29 percent increase in underrepresented minority students from only three years ago.

These numbers are the results not just of focused intentionality around this important issue, but through the hard work of our admissions team and faculty search committees.

The key to future audiences is diversity. Peabody is committed to playing a leading role in diversifying a world – classical music – that has not enjoyed the kind of diversity essential to the future health and vibrancy of our field. We’re proud to be a part of driving this important change.

Summing up

As I begin my fifth year as dean of the Peabody Institute, I could not be more excited about the trajectory of the school, the new initiatives, and the exceptional people – faculty, staff and supporters – that are making the Peabody Institute not just a pillar to the past, but a beacon for the future by training the next generation of artists to be at the forefront, leading the charge to ensure the health of the performing arts in the coming decades.

Much more to come as this year unfolds!