Home > Academic programs > Faculty of Arts and Science > Humanities > Music > New and Returning Students Resources > Rights and Responsibilities for all Music Students Taking Lessons for Credit

Music Tutors are covered by a Collective Agreement at Bishop’ University. Given the fact that private instruction is offered only in the Music Department, there is a separate section of the contract that deals just with them. There are issues about one-on-one teaching that do not affect other faculty at the University. The Music Department is forwarding the issues raised by the Union to our student body.

1. Student course evaluations. At Bishop’s, every student is given the opportunity each semester to evaluate all their courses and instructors. For Music Tutors, like other Contract Faculty at the university, student evaluations are a factor in determining both seniority and the continued right to teach. They are taken very seriously, something of which students may not be fully aware. In a normal classroom, the result of a course evaluation will be the average of many individual points of view, meaning a fair evaluation for the teacher and guaranteed anonymity for the student. This does not work for lessons, where there may be only one or two students per teacher, often registered in different years and courses. This was the dilemma facing the Contract Faculty Evaluation Committee. The solution proposed is as follows:

  • Music students will continue to fill out evaluations for their lessons each semester. These do not go directly to the tutors, but rather to the Evaluation Committee. Rather than assessing the evaluations every term, the Committee will wait until there is a minimum of 6 evaluations for any tutor – with all the different course numbers pooled together – before they will be considered. When a sufficient number has accumulated, the Tutor is advised of the results (which will not indicate semester or course number), and may wish to respond to the Committee before it meets.
  • Some tutors have few students, and even no students for some years. The Committee will review Music Tutors after three years, even if 6 evaluations have not been received.
  • New teachers, who do not join the Bargaining Unit until three years have been completed, will also be evaluated each term, but will not receive the results of the evaluation before the Committee meets. They have the right to appeal any decision, as does any other tutor.

For the system to work, it is very important that students fill out the evaluations in a conscientious fashion every term. It is hoped that the result will be a fairer evaluation of the Tutors combined with a greater degree of anonymity for the students, allowing them to give their honest opinions.

2. Choosing a particular tutor.  A second issue addressed by the Contract Faculty Committee at the same time concerns the right of students, specifically the right to choose a particular tutor or to change tutors under some circumstances. This is something that comes up from time to time, and the Contract for Music Tutors therefore includes the following clauses:

  • Students who can demonstrate a previous working relationship with a Music tutor on either the Seniority List or the Reserve List may study with this tutor if they choose. A previous working relationship shall include, but not be limited to, studying with this tutor in a university college or similar institution; taking paid private lessons with this tutor or working under the direction of this tutor in a choir or musical theatre. Students’ written requests for an exception due to a previous working relationship will be analyzed by the Assignment Committee, which shall make the final decision.
  • In the assignment of tutorials after the first semester, students will normally continue with their original tutor, though they are free to choose another tutor from either the Seniority List or the Reserve List if they wish.

While the number of teachers in the area is limited, the Department will try to accommodate student requests, which should be taken to the Department Chair or the Dean. It should be noted that this clause also means that Tutors may decline to teach certain students.

It is in the best interests of the Music Department to foster a mature and professional relationship between students and tutors. We sincerely hope that our students will hold up their end of this relationship.