The University Record, February 1, 1993

Dean Boylan: ‘Great art must agitate the calm’

By Jane R. Elgass

“The modern research university is in a unique position to expand the horizons of artistic expression, and has a fundamental obligation to do just that,” says School of Music Dean Paul C. Boylan.

“It should not only tolerate, it should exploit the tension and conflict that legitimately arise between research and tradition and the experimental and unorthodox in the arts. I sincerely believe that students learn best and most under such circumstances,” added Boylan in an address on “Artists in the Academy.”

His presentation last Monday was the third in a series of Presidential Lectures on Academic Values commemorating the University’s 175th anniversary.

Boylan reviewed the history of the arts in the academy, noting that “art and artists have not always enjoyed a warm welcome in the academy,” and that in their “sometimes problematic relationships, artists have not necessarily admired the academy either.”

Artistic studies framed in purely intellectual terms were “safe,” but when creation and new work were considered, “the traditional academy balked,” Boylan noted.

Baccalaureate degrees in music, Boylan said, were introduced in the 1920s, masters programs in the 1930s and Ph.D.s in the 1950s, adding that the University “should take as a source of considerable pride its leadership in developing these programs of study.”

With the development of the degree programs, first-class artists were attracted to the academy by students who demanded instruction from artists of the highest quality. This created consternation concerning assessment of artists’ credentials. He noted that the title “artist-in-residence” was frequently used, “to subtly set artists