Boston Conservatory at Berklee Strategic Direction, 2020–2025


The future of the performing arts is global. The internet, YouTube, and social media have created a world where performing artists are exposed to and inspired by the work of their peers across the globe; where artists collaborate either in person or online; and where new forms are continually evolving through this global dialogue.     
Boston Conservatory at Berklee will prepare the artists, leaders, educators, culture creators, and impact makers of this global future with the skills, education, and curiosity to create and collaborate not only across artistic disciplines, but also across cultures. We will empower our students to utilize all they have learned through their work as artists—creative thinking, leadership, integrity, communication, problem solving, and collaboration—to succeed in any field they choose.

The Strategic Direction for Boston Conservatory at Berklee 2020–2025 is a proactive set of strategies and initiatives designed to maximize the potential of the Conservatory’s merger with Berklee in reinventing itself as a contemporary, culturally fluent, and globally minded conservatory of the future.

Our Mission               

Boston Conservatory at Berklee provides a transformative, contemporary performing arts education that unleashes potential and empowers artists with the skills, self-awareness, and courage to shape our world and create the future they imagine.

Our Vision

In the year 2025, Boston Conservatory at Berklee will be the leading contemporary performing arts conservatory in the United States. Pioneering a radical new model of conservatory performing arts education built around diversity in all its forms, Boston Conservatory at Berklee prepares the artists, leaders, educators, culture creators, and impact makers of the future.

Our Approach

The Conservatory’s vision and strategic approach are informed by the rapidly changing landscape of higher education; inspired by changes in the performing arts themselves arising from globalization and technology; and built on the bedrock foundation of our commitment to diversity—in all its forms—as the lifeblood of excellence in performing arts education. Each aspect of the strategic direction enhances and supports the others to create an interwoven strategy that will achieve our most important student-centered goals:

  • increase access;
  • reduce student debt;
  • enhance the student experience;
  • support student success; and
  • prepare students for sustainable, lifelong careers.  

To accomplish these goals, the Conservatory will:

  1. Prioritize diversity as a central driver of curricular, artistic, and cultural change at Boston Conservatory, and align enrollment, financial, marketing, and advancement strategies in support of this goal.  
  2. Undertake unprecedented innovation of the curriculum, pedagogy, and delivery of degree programs, completely reinventing Conservatory education while maintaining the excellence of the education we provide, which positions Boston Conservatory at Berklee as a singular institution, unique in the world.        
  3. Leverage the combined strengths of Boston Conservatory at Berklee, Berklee College of Music, and Berklee Online to elevate the merged institution as the global leader in performing arts education, while concurrently maximizing these combined strengths to create unmatched educational and artistic opportunities for our students.

Strategic Direction Framework: Diversity, Innovation, and Elevation

Boston Conservatory’s Strategic Direction is founded on three pillars: diversity, innovation, and elevation. Together, these pillars create the framework for specific initiatives to be articulated, planned, and accomplished, now through the year 2025.

1: Diversity

First and foremost, the Conservatory’s Strategic Direction is built on the concept of diversity in all forms as the single most important element of a performing arts education.

Boston Conservatory will prioritize diversity as a central driver of curricular, artistic, and cultural change at the Conservatory. This includes unprecedented innovation of the curriculum, pedagogy, and delivery of degree programs that completely reinvents conservatory education, while maintaining the highest caliber of educational excellence. To support this work, we will realign our enrollment, financial, marketing, and advancement strategies.

As the core of the Strategic Direction, our values of diversity will be reflected in every aspect of a Conservatory education, including:

  • Diversity of population, with a specific focus on racial diversity, which will drive student recruitment and enrollment, as well as faculty and staff recruitment and hiring.
  • Diversity of aesthetic, meaning teaching non-Western forms, non-classical forms, and contextualizing Western classicism within a global framework, which will drive reinvention of curriculum and performance programming.
  • Diversity of culture, as expressed through an inclusive curriculum and culturally competent faculty, staff, and student body.

We firmly believe that the most successful performing artists will need to have the skills, education, and curiosity to create and collaborate not only across disciplines, but across cultures. Therefore, excellence in a contemporary performing arts education cannot be achieved in a culturally or racially homogenous environment, nor can it be achieved through a curriculum that presents students with a monolithic immersion in only one aesthetic.

2: Innovation

Boston Conservatory at Berklee is committed to large-scale, groundbreaking innovation of our curriculum, educational methodology, and pedagogy built around an emphasis on contemporary work and diversity in all its forms. By embracing the dialogue between tradition and innovation, classicism and the avant-garde, and prioritizing opportunities for cross cultural, cross-disciplinary, and cross-genre collisions and intersections, we will position Boston Conservatory as an incubator of new works and artistic revolutions—the place where the future of the performing arts is being created. We will innovate new degree programs, summer programs, and online curricula built around this forward-thinking vision, and we will maximize access, efficiency, and flexibility by creating new models for delivery of both curriculum and degree programs.

Through this work, we will be engaged in a fundamental reinvention of both Boston Conservatory at Berklee and of the conservatory educational model itself.

3: Elevation (Global Positioning)

The interconnectedness of contemporary and popular music-making with the creation of accompanying visual performance culture is arguably one of the most significant developments in performing arts over the last 30 years. Boston Conservatory’s deep expertise in dance, music, and theater performance, combined with Berklee College of Music and Berklee Online’s unparalleled commercial industry experience, uniquely positions Berklee as a whole to actively shape the future of multidisciplinary, multimedia creation.

Leading this charge, Boston Conservatory will partner with other Berklee learning environments to deliver curricula and programs that prepare students for the intersection of dance, music, and theater, which now shapes so much contemporary and popular performance.

In addition, Boston Conservatory will pursue global partnerships and opportunities to make our unique performing arts education available to students around the world, further supporting our diversity and innovation initiatives.

Process and Strategy Design

The development of Boston Conservatory at Berklee’s Strategic Direction for 2020–2025 was initiated in 2017, immediately following Cathy Young’s appointment as executive director. The Strategic Direction serves as the Conservatory’s institutional plan for defining its mission, vision, and positioning as an entity within the larger Berklee institution.

After a multiyear process that engaged students, faculty, staff, alumni, and parents, design of the Strategic Direction concluded and was approved in fall 2019 by the Berklee Board of Trustees. The Conservatory is currently executing on various elements of the plan while continuing to build and develop supporting initiatives.

Boston Conservatory has also formed two councils, the Executive Director Student Advisory Council (EDSAC) and the Executive Director Faculty Advisory Council (EDFAC). These student and faculty groups partner with the Executive Director on identifying areas of improvement within the institution and proposing new initiatives that support the Strategic Direction.

Learn More and Get Involved

To learn more about Boston Conservatory at Berklee’s Strategic Direction for 2020–2025, email the Executive Director’s Office at