Development plan

DEVELOPMENT PLAN OF THE ESTONIAN ACADEMY OF MUSIC AND THEATRE 2021−2025
Approved by the EAMT Council on 22 December 2020

Introduction

The Development Plan is a strategy document that defines the role of the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre (hereinafter ‘EAMT’ or ‘the Academy’) in society, its mission, vision, core values, key goals and courses of action until 2025. The Development Plan includes a table of performance indicators with target values for 2025.

The following national strategies have been taken into account in compiling the EAMT Development Plan:

  • Strategy ‘Estonia 2035’;
  • Estonian Education Strategy 2021–2035;
  • Estonian RDI and Entrepreneurship Strategy 2021–2035.

EAMT external evaluation reports, OSKA studies on labour needs in the fields of the performing arts, music, education and research, the goals and obligations set for the Academy by the administrative agreement concluded between EAMT and the Ministry of Education and Research, as well as proposals by the Academy’s structural units, feedback from students and the results of the employee satisfaction survey served as important inputs in compiling this Development Plan.

A major goal of several previous development plans of the Academy – the construction of a concert and performance centre – has finally been achieved. The Concert and Theatre Hall, which has significantly improved the conditions for academic and creative work and considerably increased the visibility of EAMT for the public, was inaugurated for the 100th anniversary of the Academy on 28 September 2019. Several other important goals of the previous development plan have also been met. At the same time, some issues demand the continued attention and effort of the Academy’s members. The development of Estonian society and global challenges also require us to set new goals to ensure that the Academy will continue to successfully fulfil its mission in Estonian educational and cultural life.

General principles of action and role in society

Among the Estonian universities, EAMT is responsible for higher education in music and dramatic arts. According to the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre Act passed during the previous planning period, EAMT provides for the acquisition of higher education based on research, development and creative activities at all levels of higher education in music and the dramatic arts, and the areas connected therewith promotes music and the dramatic arts, supports the spread of creative thinking and the continuation of the Estonian language and culture.

The history of Estonian music and theatre in the 20th century has been inextricably connected with the faculty and alumni of EAMT. We envisage that the central role of the Academy in impacting and shaping Estonian culture will also continue in the 21st century.

Despite a decrease in the number of students in recent years (from 698 students in 2015 to 560 students in 2020), EAMT is among the medium-sized institutions of higher education in the field of music and theatre in Europe. The range of specialist fields and curricula at EAMT stands up to international comparison, with its curricula successfully passing an external assessment during 2017–2018. It is important to note that this was the first time the bachelor’s and master’s degree curricula in the field of music were evaluated by the international quality agency MusiQuE. In addition to formal academic education, EAMT also offers continuing training for musicians and music teachers in Estonia. EAMT is the Estonian centre for research in musicology, but research at the Academy also covers the fields of music education, theatre and cultural management.

Most of the academic staff at EAMT are active creative individuals. The students also participate in various creative projects at EAMT, part of which are organised in cooperation with professional performing arts institutions. After the opening of the EAMT Concert and Theatre Hall, the attendance of cultural events organised by EAMT has increased significantly.

EAMT develops partnerships with other universities, professional networks and organisations in Estonia and abroad, supports the mobility of students and academic staff and is an active participant in the education programmes of the European Union and the Nordic countries. EAMT is a member of the Estonian Music Council, the Estonian Music Development Centre, the European Association of Conservatoires and Music Academies (AEC), the European League of Institutes of the Arts (ELIA), the Association of Nordic Music Academies (ANMA), the NORTEAS network of performing arts institutions and the European Network on Cultural Management and Cultural Policy Education (ENCATC). Domestically, EAMT considers cooperation with creative unions and associations in the field of music and theatre, including the Association of Estonian Music Schools and the Estonian Society of Music Education, to be of great importance.

EAMT’s international reputation and competitiveness were confirmed in 2019 by the inclusion of the Academy for the first time in the QS World University Rankings, a renowned international ranking system of higher education institutions, where EAMT is currently sharing positions 51–100 in the performing arts.

Mission

The mission of the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre is to sustain, develop and promote Estonian culture at the highest level, through music and theatre studies as well as creative activities and research.

Vision

The Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre is a prestigious and attractive educational, scientific and cultural institution with a high level of professionalism, dedicated to preserving national cultural traditions and actively developing international cooperation, while being open to creative ideas, diverse scientific research and innovative interdisciplinary projects. 

The core values of EAMT

Creativity: we provide opportunities for meaningful expressions of creativity at a high level.

Playfulness: we understand that playfulness is the basis of any creative activity, enabling new approaches to be discovered and to flourish.

Proficiency: we strive for competence, the sharing of ideas and knowledge, as well as consistent learning and growing, thereby setting an example for the current and future creators in the field of music and theatre.

Commitment: we recognise the dedication to a calling as a requisite for achieving a high level of creativity. We offer an environment conducive to commitment, enabling the discovery of prevailing truths as well as the creation of fresh interpretations.

Preserving our national culture: we understand our unique responsibility to sustain and nurture the generations of creators in music and the dramatic arts, who will ensure the role of Estonian music and theatre in our national identity in the future. We are aware of the significant impact of our work in upholding and developing Estonian culture.

Openness: we are open to different approaches in art, education and research, the versatility of styles and methods in music and theatre. We share ideas and knowledge, and acknowledge our mistakes. We are united and straightforward in our search for the best solutions.

Equal and respectful treatment: we treat all students, colleagues and partners equally and with respect, and give credit to their success and achievements.

 

Strategic objectives and courses of action until 2025

In this Development Plan, EAMT sets five strategic goals, which are primarily related to the main activities of the Academy – learning and teaching, research, development and creative activities, and serving society in a broader sense. More specific courses of action and planned activities are set out for each objective.

Strategic objective 1

All specialist fields at EAMT have a motivated student body, top-level teaching staff and an inspiring learning environment. EAMT graduates can practice their profession both in Estonia and internationally.

During the previous planning period, the number of EAMT students decreased by almost 20%. At the same time, the share of international students has increased. In addition to demographic changes, this tendency refers to problems in Estonian music education and the low reputation and appreciation for the professions of musicians and music teachers in society (the no lack of suitable student candidates in the field of theatre). Therefore, ensuring the sustainability and integrity of music education is seen as an important course of action in this Development Plan. To increase the number of qualified  music students, it is necessary to closely cooperate with pre-higher education institutions, and create a general understanding in society that music education which starts in early childhood can offer many career and self-fulfilment opportunities.

Being open to the world is essential to ensure the quality of studies at EAMT. We do not see internationalisation and promoting Estonian culture as being at cross purposes.  It is consistently important to find high-level international students, who will increase the competitivity of students within EAMT and thereby motivate everyone to raise their professional level. After graduation, foreign students relocating to their home country or other countries abroad will become ambassadors for Estonian culture, who can pass on what they have acquired and learned in Estonia. The principles, goals and priorities of internationalisation are formulated in the Academy’s internationalisation strategy.

The teaching of different disciplines – performance, composition, acting, research, cultural management, etc. – must take place in close cooperation, to create a fertile creative environment and enable the emergence of innovative and mutually empowering solutions at the intersection of multiple  fields.

Courses of action

1.1. Paying special attention to pre-higher education stages and finding and supporting talented young people to ensure a sufficient number of motivated and well-prepared students in all disciplines of the Academy.

The Academy:

  • supports the widest possible access to high-quality music and theatre education among Estonian children, and youth of upper secondary school age;
  • endorses  the establishment of the Tallinn Music and Ballet School based on a strong foundation of professionalism; continues to work closely with the Heino Eller Music School as the main centre for music education in southern Estonia;
  • strengthen cooperation with the Estonian Music Schools Union and the Estonian Society for Music Education, seeking new forms of cooperation of mutual interest;
  • commends schools and teachers thanks to whom new talented students have come to the Academy;
  • evolves its youth programme and youth academy;
  • develops a marketing and reputation building strategy aimed at finding new students.

1.2. Developing international collaborations and an international learning environment, and thereby supporting awareness of the Estonian language and culture in the world.

The Academy:

  • promotes the international mobility of students and teaching staff;
  • supports student participation in international competitions, research conferences and international cooperation projects;
  • takes steps to recruit high-level international students;
  • offers study opportunities for international students not only in the English language but also in curricula taught in Estonian; ensures that the Estonian language and culture are taught to all international students;
  • invites top-level musicians, actors, stage directors and prominent scholars, teachers and cultural managers from around the world to enhance its educational efforts.

1.3. Ensuring a supportive and motivating work environment for the teaching staff. Acknowledging faculty members who are dedicated to their own and their student’s professional development, and engaging and encouraging young teaching staff.

The Academy:

  • endeavours to ensure competitive salaries for faculty members;
  • supports the creative and research activities and professional development of academic staff through offering free semesters, mobility grants and other measures;
  • encourages academic exchange and mutual learning, and seeks to motivate faculty members   the development of their professional field and the Academy as a whole;
  • strives to attract young top-level specialists to EAMT and help integrate them with the existing faculty.

1.4. Ensuring a competitive education and a supportive and motivating learning environment for students.

The Academy:

  • draws consistent attention to the quality of learning and labour market expectations;
  • ensures that the special needs of the learner are taken into account in the organisation of studies and the learning environment;
  • takes into account the student’s abilities and development needs when planning studies;
  • develops flexible forms of learning, including e-learning;
  • guides students to responsible and conscious self-management in designing their studies and achieving learning outcomes.

Strategic objective 2

EAMT curricula are coherent, and support services are well organised; well-functioning feedback systems make it possible to identify impediments in the organisation of teaching and learning and to plan improvement activities.

The structure of EAMT curricula has been brought in line with the framework of the academic departments, which was revised in 2018, but work must continue to increase the coherence of curriculum objectives, learning outcomes and assessment criteria. The self-analysis and development procedures for curricula also require attention.

The gathering of student feedback needs to be thoroughly revised, as in its current form it only partially fulfils its purpose. New approaches need to be found to increase the student’s motivation to give feedback. One option is to give teachers a clearer role in collecting feedback.

Courses of action

2.1. Critically evaluating curricula and their parts (modules, subjects), planned learning outcomes and assessment criteria and updating curriculum descriptions.

The Academy:

  • analyses and amends the descriptions of the objectives, learning outcomes and assessment criteria of all the curricula to increase their coherence and terminological uniformity;
  • prepares short descriptions of each curriculum for students, indicating their main conditions, options and requirements for graduation.

2.2. Organising the process of self-analysis and the development of curricula.

The Academy:

  • develops and applies a specific methodology for the internal evaluation and development of curricula based on Estonian and international experience;
  • increases the involvement of employers in curriculum development;
  • develops and applies more learning analytics.

2.3. Monitoring and supporting the individual development of students.

The Academy:

  • enhances academic, career and psychological counselling, taking into account the specifics of the different fields and the individual needs of students;
  • pays particular attention to increasing accessibility for students with special needs and supporting their studies;
  • monitors student’s academic progress and takes preventive steps to reduce the dropout rate.

2.4. Upgrading the system of gathering feedback

The Academy:

  • develops measures to increase the student’s motivation to provide feedback;
  • increases the responsibility of teachers in collecting feedback;
  • increases the level of detail in alumni satisfaction surveys.

Strategic objective 3

Research at EAMT and the creative activities of the faculty and students are at a high international level and make an important contribution to Estonian culture.

To appreciate and understand the culture and to ensure it’s sustainability, it is important to see it in the context of Estonian studies, which require scientific methods of research.  The contribution of music and theatre researchers and didactics specialists is also important for academic work at EAMT, including the practical creative fields. The financing of national research disciplines, which has become prominent on the agenda in Estonia, also directly affects EAMT. Despite the setbacks in recent years, EAMT researchers must continue to apply for research grants.

Creative research is becoming increasingly established in Estonia – it is a field of research carried out by creative individuals and mainly concerning creative practice, which has been successful at EAMT due to its doctoral studies. The scholarship programme for teaching staff in creative fields, launched by the Estonian Cultural Endowment in 2019, supports the advancement of research among the Academy’s faculty members. The same programme also helps support the creative activities of the teaching staff. We hope to witness the positive impact of the new programme in the coming years.

Courses of action

3.1. Continually emphasizing research on Estonian culture and expanding related cooperation.

The Academy:

  • prioritises various aspects of Estonian culture in the selection of research topics;
  • contributes to the development of Estonian music and theatre terminology;
  • intensifies co-operation and conducts joint research with other Estonian universities and research institutions;
  • is more active in offering its scientific expertise at an international level; supports researchers in developing international contacts.

3.2. Developing creative research and defining creative research projects more precisely.

The Academy:

  • in cooperation with other Estonian universities, elaborates the definition and criteria of creative research;
  • supports the teaching staff in creative fields in initiating and carrying out creative research projects;
  • continues to publish the results of creative research projects and make them available to the general public;
  • takes the lead in developing the focal themes of creative research and formulating larger projects on that basis.

3.3. Supporting and publicly presenting the creative activities of teaching staff and students.

The Academy:

  • enables teachers and students to carry out their creative projects in collaboration with the Concert and Performance Centre;
  • encourages closer creative cooperation between different fields, both within the Academy and between universities;
  • supports creative innovation and research in music and the dramatic arts and at the intersection of various art forms;
  • introduces the creative activities of teaching staff and students to the public through various media.

3.4. Developing doctoral studies and diversifying the opportunities for doctoral studies.

The Academy:

  • contributes to the implementation of the doctoral education reform initiated at a national level, by clearly defining the different alternatives for holding a doctoral position (junior doctoral researcher, doctoral student) and developing the necessary internal regulations;
  • reduces the volume of compulsory subjects in doctoral curricula and assesses the skills and competences described in learning outcomes more flexibly;
  • focuses on the emergence of new supervisors by involving younger teaching staff with doctoral degrees in supervising theses at different levels, including doctoral theses, and by forming teams of supervisors with different kinds of backgrounds;
  • increases the importance of gaining an international experience during doctoral studies and clarifies the assessment of this requirement.

Strategic objective 4

EAMT contributes to the development of Estonian culture and society through public concerts, performances, participation in public discussions and other activities. Society values the Academy as a custodian and developer of Estonian culture.

EAMT is a custodian of the cultural continuity of society and a promoter of creative thinking. In this way, the Academy makes a difference in the general living environment and the well-being of our people. To fulfil its role in society, the Academy must be more visible as an institution with a positive image. While the new Concert and Theatre Hall represents the core of EAMT’s public activities, our teaching staff and students should also reach out to other venues across Estonia.

Courses of action

4.1. Organising concerts and performances for various target groups.

The Academy:

  • organises concerts and performances at its venues free of charge or with an affordable ticket price;
  • informs the general public about its activities and public events through various channels to reach different social groups;
  • develops activities aimed at schoolchildren.

4.2. Providing high-quality and modern library services in the field of music and theatre.

The Academy library:

  • continues to perform the functions of a research library and to systematically develop its collections to meet the needs of the music and theatre fields;
  • pays particular attention to expanding the range of electronic resources and improving their user-friendliness;
  • modernises the library spaces both in the main building and in the Drama School branch.

4.3. Participating actively in public discussion, particularly on topics concerning cultural life.

The Academy:

  • advocates the role of music and theatre in society;
  • follows its communication strategy in external communication, updating the strategy where necessary;
  • values faculty participation in professional organisations of the third sector, thereby taking an active role in the public debate on cultural and educational affairs.

4.4. Providing continuing training for teachers and creative persons in the fields of music and theatre. As a centre of excellence in music and music education, EAMT maintains a leading role in planning and organising continuing training in these fields. The teacher training at EAMT is based on the goals and principles established in the Estonian Lifelong Learning Strategy and on a comprehensive approach to music education.

The Academy:

  • plans and organises continuing training courses in cooperation with other educational institutions and professional organisations of the third sector;
  • expands training activities for various target groups by giving each participant access to the learning opportunities that meet their needs and abilities;
  • contributes to the development of quality and feedback in continuing training;
  • participates in the continuing training cooperation networks of universities;
  • develops new forms of continuing training, including e-training;
  • prepares teaching and learning resources.

Strategic objective 5

EAMT is a purposefully developing organisation whose members share common core values and support the agreed principles of quality culture.

According to the Higher Education Act and the EAMT Act, the Academy adopted a new Statute at the beginning of 2020, which defines the competences of the EAMT governing bodies (Council, Senate, Rector). It is important to ensure that the strategic goals approved by the Council are followed at all the different levels of the Academy’s activities and that the Academy’s members are adequately involved in the decision-making processes.

The introduction of quality management principles and the development of a quality culture require continuous attention. The Academy has a well functioning system of  internal regulations, but further efforts are needed to achieve a comprehensive and systematic approach to quality management.

An important area for improvement is internal communication, where a clear system must be built for internal horizontal and vertical information flows. Internal communication aims to increase the coherence between departments and students through the communication of values and the synergy of joint events, which also involve alumni.

Courses of action

5.1. Consistently implementing the principles of strategic management and the efficient organisation of work.

The Academy:

  • plans activities and makes management decisions based on its mission, vision and strategic objectives, involving members and external stakeholders in the decision-making process;
  • clearly defines the responsibilities for implementing the objectives set out in the Development Plan and the action plans adopted basis on the Development Plan;
  • focuses on the modernisation of human resources and document management;
  • offers training opportunities for its employees, with a stronger focus on the development of digital competences;
  • is guided in its activities by a mindset of health-consciousness and environmental sustainability.

5.2. Developing the quality culture.

The Academy:

  • provides a more accurate definition of the quality indicators for its core and support processes;
  • establishes the principles and procedures for internal evaluation;
  • plans and implements improvement activities based on internal and external evaluations.

5.3. Developing internal communication.

The Academy:

  • develops precise guidelines for internal information flows, clearly defining the types of information flow and the main persons of responsibility;
  • continues to develop its intranet;
  • organises events involving all members of the Academy.

Implementing the Development Plan

The Rector’s Office organises and is responsible for the implementation of the Development Plan. The Rector’s Office reports to the Council and the Senate of the Academy yearly on the implementation of the Development Plan. The Council has the right to amend the Development Plan.