Mississippi University for Women Music Therapy professor Carmen Osburn and Music Therapy assistant professor Dr. Jon Fessenden recently were appointed to national positions.

Osburn, who is in her 17th year at The W, has been appointed co-chair of the American Music Therapy Association’s Academic Program Approval Committee. Fessenden has been appointed to the Editorial Board of the Journal of Music Therapy.

Carmen Osburn
Carmen Osburn

Osburn has served on the committee for many years, so she said it is a natural progression for her to move into her new role. She said she volunteered for the position and then had to go through an approval process through the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) Board of Directors.

“My experience as a member of the committee will greatly help in my new role as I am thoroughly familiar with the responsibilities and work of the committee,” Osburn said. “We have 16 members on the committee, and our primary responsibility is to evaluate applications for new academic programs around the country, and to re-approve established programs every 10 years, on a rotational schedule.”

Osburn said the committee does detailed and time-consuming work that includes overseeing more than 90 academic programs, including Bachelor, Master and Doctoral, that all students need to complete at a university or college approved by the AMTA to be eligible for certification through the Certification Board for Music Therapists (CBMT).

Osburn said she originally joined the committee so she could learn from what other universities were doing in their programs and make sure The W was maintaining high educational and clinical training standards in its courses. She said her involvement has helped her to make changes in The W’s curriculum and individual courses regarding reading assignments, student projects, clinical training documentation, structure of course content and many other areas.  

“I will continue to make adjustments to courses as I encounter new technology, research, clinical training methods and functional music standards through my service in this committee,” said Osburn, who represented the Southeastern Region of the American Music Therapy Association on this committee for more than 10 years before stepping into her new role.

 Dr. Jon Fessenden

Fessenden, who is in his second year at The W, will work with the Journal of Music Therapy for the first time. His six-year appointment to the editorial board entails serving in an advisory capacity to the associate editors / editors and reviewing manuscripts consistent with his area of research expertise.

“Being involved with the flagship journal of the AMTA is a great honor, as it gives me the opportunity to maintain high standards of research for the field of music therapy,” Fessenden said. “I believe being involved helps me refine my understanding of what makes quality research, and I hope to pass along what I learn to students at The W so that they might make contributions to research in the future.”

Fessenden said he nominated himself for the position and was accepted. He said he will receive articles submitted to the journal and grade them according to select criteria. The editorial board then determines if the article is acceptable for publication, needs minor or major revisions or is rejected. Fessenden said he will provide written feedback from his evaluation to the article authors and journal editors. 

About The W

Located in historic Columbus, Mississippi, The W was founded in 1884 as the first state-supported college for women in the United States. Today, the university is home to 2,227 students in more than 70 majors and concentrations and has educated men for 40 years. The university is nationally recognized for low student debt, diversity and social mobility which empowers students to BE BOLD.

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