Bachelor of Arts in Music: Music Industry Studies

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Introduction

The BA in Music offered by MSU Denver at DIME Detroit is a liberal arts degree in which music and general studies content is integrated throughout all coursework. Students are exposed to a broad curriculum that includes studies in history, the arts and humanities, and the sciences. Music is integrated into general studies courses, and the liberal arts are integrated into music courses throughout the degree program.

This degree equips the aspiring music entrepreneur with the knowledge and skills needed to function effectively in the fast-changing landscape of the music industry. The degree aims to develop critical, contextually and culturally aware practitioners through the production of a mature body of work.

Under the guidance of today’s working professionals, the degree provides you with essential information on the functionality of the industry and how to create and exploit multiple income streams for both the new and established artist. Free-thinking and individuality are encouraged and students can choose areas of specialism within the parameters of the degree.

The intensive nature of the degree enables learners to become skilled practitioners and provides the freedom for them to develop their own unique and innovative methods of working. On completion of the degree, you will have built up a varied portfolio and will be equipped to identify, create and respond to the many career opportunities that exist in the ever-evolving music landscape.

MSU Denver at DIME Detroit degrees are offered as a full-time program, which enables you to complete your studies in four years.

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Benefits

  • MSU Denver at DIME Detroit faculty are world class artists and educators, active in the music industry and educational practice.
  • Direct engagement with the industry through project-based work.
  • Students are guided and encouraged to develop their own individual area(s) of expertise.
  • Collaboration within a broader musical community; your regular interaction with peers and faculty groups is enhanced by live events and other extra-curricular activities including: masterclasses, private tutorial sessions, End of Term Shows, regular Open House events, and one-off events in which DIME partners with local musicians and organizations.

How are the courses taught?

The teaching strategies deployed within the degree program seek to reflect and apply the educational philosophy of MSU Denver and DIME, and the rationale, aims and learning outcomes of the course. The intention is to engage the active participation of a committed group of academic and technical staff and students. Students at MSU Denver at DIME Detroit will benefit from the following modes of teaching:

  • Group lectures within the institute environment, where all students will learn in groups regardless of their individual specialism.
  • Specialist lectures within the institute environment, where students will learn in specialist specific groups.
  • Weekly lectures with instruction by world-class industry professionals who have vast experience in the music industry.
  • Regular One-To-One Tutorial Guidance from the MSU Denver at DIME Detroit Campus Manager, DIME Head of Education, your Head of Department, MSU Faculty, and DIME Learner Experience Administrator on matters relating to the course, musical performance, career planning and student care.
  • Exclusive Masterclasses from renowned artists, educators and industry professionals. Click here to check out some of our past guests.

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What you’ll do

For more information, visit MSU Denver’s website or explore the courses by clicking on the sections below:

Year 1: Semester 1

Repertoire and Hit Song Analysis
MUS 1880 – This course serves as a basic introduction to A&R (artist and repertoire) practice, focusing on the question: what makes a song a hit? In exploring this question, students learn to identify musical attributes of hit songs from popular 20th century music; students gain a basic understanding of the music business infrastructure that contributed to the success of various songs and artists. The course examines a number of record labels, including, most notably, their A&R departments, to investigate how these labels chose, produced, and marketed their catalogs of hit songs. Students also analyze numerous classic and contemporary hit songs in relation to their basic sonic qualities, promotional campaigns and label support, as well as their social and historical contexts.
Domestic Music Market
MUS 1890 – This course provides students with an introductory overview of the American music industry. Students demonstrate how the multiple components of, and stakeholders in, the music business all work together to create income streams for artists and industry professionals. Students study the business strategies of classic and contemporary artists to reveal how these musicians have navigated an increasingly complex and dynamic industry.
Introduction to Music
MUS 1000 – This course will investigate the function, structure, style and genre classifications, and aesthetic interpretations of a diverse variety of musical traditions. The student will develop and employ a vocabulary for musical description and listen to many different traditions of musical expression. This course is intended for non-majors.
Public Speaking
SPE 1010 – This course integrates both the theory and practical skills of topic research, composition, delivery, and criticism of public speaking. Skill development includes effective public presentation strategies and audience analysis. Students develop critical listening skills by evaluating their own public-speaking style, as well as the effectiveness of their peers and professional speakers. This course builds public-speaking confidence, and introduces the student to the power of public rhetoric in social and professional contexts.
Essential Music Theory Skills
MUS 1010 – This course covers the techniques of music reading, analysis, and hearing skills by teaching the fundamental principles of meter, rhythm, pitch scales, key signatures, intervals, triads, seventh chords and the keyboard. The application of traditional sight-reading and ear-training are emphasized. This course is designed to prepare music majors, musical theatre majors, and music minors for MUS 1110.
Recital Attendance
MUS 0020 – Students must attend a total of twelve performances selected from a list of approved performances provided at the beginning of each semester. Students must enroll during each semester of individual instruction, and must receive a “Satisfactory” grade in order to progress to the next Techniques and Improvisation level.

Year 1: Semester 2

Artist Discovery and Development
MUS 1892 – Building on Repertoire and Hit Song Analysis, this course provides a further exploration of artist and repertoire practice as students learn to find new acts, assess their commercial potential, and develop their talents into viable business plans. While surveying the history and development of artist and repertoire, students learn how to approach unsigned acts and identify workable marketing angles for them; the course will also cover how to develop artists, build their fan base, and present them to a label for acquisition. Students develop skills in targeted research, quality control, leadership, presentation/communication, and management.
Music Theory I
MUS 1110 – This course is the study of the melodic, harmonic, rhythm, textural, and formal elements of music through analysis and composition and the development of reading and hearing skills as they relate to these elements. It covers diatonic music based on the triad including tonic and dominant harmony, phrase structure and grouping, and melodic figuration and dissonance. Aural recognition of materials is emphasized.
Music Theory Lab I
MUS 1120 – Students will apply reading and listening skills to the melodic, harmonic, rhythmic, textural, and formal elements of music through singing and the use of the keyboard. This course covers diatonic music based on the triad.
Class Piano I
MUS 161B – This course offers class instruction in piano to students with little or no previous training. You will learn the basics of playing scales and chords along with simple etudes and accompaniment for voice and other instruments.
Mathematical Modes of Thought
MTH 1080 – This course is an introduction to the spirit and methods of mathematics. It includes problem-solving strategies, introductory financial mathematics, probability, statistics, and other topics demonstrating the interdisciplinary applicability of mathematics.
Composing Arguments
ENG 1010 – Composing Arguments is a course focusing on the process of writing and revising college level texts in three major categories: arguments through-personal reflection, arguments through analysis, and arguments through interpretation. The course employs lecture, discussion, workshop, and conference methods. Students learn how to read, summarize, and analyze texts. Students demonstrate their ability to generate, organize, and produce writing for appropriate audiences. Course work does not include research and documentation of secondary sources. Students must receive a C- or better to earn course credit.
Recital Attendance
MUS 0020 – Students must attend a total of twelve performances selected from a list of approved performances provided at the beginning of each semester. Students must enroll during each semester of individual instruction, and must receive a “Satisfactory” grade in order to progress to the next Techniques and Improvisation level.

Year 2: Semester 1

Self-Employment Skills in Music
MUS 2880 – This course focuses on how to assess and exploit a variety self-employment opportunities available within the contemporary music industry. Students will learn the fundamentals of starting and managing their own music-related business as well as how to manage their personal finances as they relate to self-employment. Recognizing the volatility of the music industry, students will learn how to navigate times of abundance and scarcity.
Music Industry Income Streams
MUS 2886 -This course focuses on understanding the various ways in which artists earn income from the perspective of an artist manager. This includes a survey of a multitude of income streams to create a diverse approach to creating, and advising on, revenue opportunities for artists. Students will additionally learn about long-term and short-term financial planning, cost-benefit analysis, budget forecasting, and cash flow management. Students will develop a basic financial literacy as it relates to the music business, honing their ability to communicate with accountants, agents, banks, and third-party investors.
Group Performance Instruction I
MUS 2870 – Students will receive group instruction on a primary instrument (guitar, bass, drums, or vocals). This course will start at a non-remedial level; therefore students will need to audition to enroll in this class. Students will learn a variety of techniques, and apply them to a range of musical styles. This class is part of a sequence that will build towards a functional proficiency on a given instrument.
Ensemble (Pop and Soul Choir)
MUS 3810 – This ensemble class will focus on singing in a group setting, teaching students primarily about vocal technique, vocal health, vocal blend, harmony singing, dynamics, phrasing, and group dynamics. This class will include repertoire ranging from contemporary popular music to classic soul.
Music Theory II
MUS 1130 – This course is the continuation of Music Theory I. It includes the study of the melodic, harmonic, rhythmic, textural, and formal dements of music through analysis and composition and the development of reading and hearing skills as they relate to these elements. It covers predominant chords and other diatonic chords, seventh chords, harmonic sequences, and an introduction to tonicization and modulation. Aural recognition of materials is emphasized.
Music Theory II Lab
MUS 1140 – This course is a continuation of Music Theory I Lab,and covers diatonic seventh chords and elementary chromaticism.

 

Recital Attendance
MUS 0020 – Students must attend a total of twelve performances selected from a list of approved performances provided at the beginning of each semester. Students must enroll during each semester of individual instruction, and must receive a “Satisfactory” grade in order to progress to the next Techniques and Improvisation level.
Research and Argument Writing
ENG 1020 -This is a course in the process of writing extended essays supported by research. The course includes an introduction to research methods, practice in critical reading, thinking, and writing across the disciplines, integration of source material, and the conventions of MLA and APA styles of documentation. Students can expect to do a series of shorter writing aod research assignments leading to the longer, documented paper.

Year 2: Semester 2

International Music Market
MUS 2888 -Building on the MUS 1890: Domestic Music Market, this course offers an overview of how principles learned in that class apply overseas. Students will learn how to break and establish artists outside of the US market; this will include an introduction to, and analysis of, the primary stakeholders in the global music industry. This class explores the key similarities and differences between the US and non-US markets, including cultural dynamics, legal structures, distribution channels, performance opportunities, and marketing strategies. Students will also examine historical and current trends in various overseas markets and discuss how artists stay relevant over time.
Establishing an Artist
MUS 2882 – Building on the artist and repertoire skills developed previously, this course will focus on how to break (i.e., establish) new artists into the mainstream music industry. By examining a range of case studies, students will learn to expose an artist to multiple audiences and broaden their reach to various markets. This class will explore marketing strategies, networking, short and long term planning, problem solving, leadership, and other skills necessary to establish an artist in the contemporary music market.
Group Performance Instruction II
MUS 2871 -This is a continuation of MUS 2870: Group Performance I, offering group instruction on a primary instrument (i.e. guitar, bass, keyboard, drums, or vocals).
African Drum Ensemble
MUS 3810 – This ensemble will focus on the music of West Africa and the African diaspora, particularly the Caribbean. Students will gain experience performing a diverse repertoire that includes musical practices such as: call-and-response, hocket, polyrhythm, drum language, parallel vocal harmony, and more. Students will be expected to attend rehearsal sessions as well as several public performances throughout the term. Students will also be expected to articulate an understanding of this music in its proper cultural, social, and historical context. The repertoire for this ensemble will vary, so that students who enroll in the class multiple times will continue to increase their knowledge and skills.
Recital Attendance
MUS 0020 – Students must attend a total of twelve performances selected from a list of approved performances provided at the beginning of each semester. Students must enroll during each semester of individual instruction, and must receive a “Satisfactory” grade in order to progress to the next Techniques and Improvisation level.
American History since 1865
HIST 1220 – This course covers the background to the present-day United States beginning with the Civil War and culminating with recent times. It analyzes cultural, social, economic and technological change. Topics addressed include immigration, industrialism, emergence of the U.S. as a world power, Progressivism, the First World War, the Great Depression, World War II, and the Cold War and its aftermath.
Art and Visual Literacy
ARTH 1500 – This course is a general introduction to the tools and methods used to analyze and interpret works of art in a variety of contexts. Students learn how to effectively communicate how visual forms work in conjunction with cultural beliefs both in the past and present. Analytical tools appropriate to the disciplines of art criticism and art history, including the use of research, are used by the student to support interpretations. A variety of artistic traditions, including materials and techniques from across the globe and throughout time, are introduced so that students are prepared to identify and interpret historical and contemporary examples of visual art and design. By developing an awareness of the relationship between visual forms and the messages they convey, students increase their ability to respond critically to their own increasingly complex, visual environment. This course is designed for the non-major and recommended for the General Studies requirement in Arts and Humanities.

Year 3: Semester 1

Live Tour Management
MUS 3886 – This course will examine the details of designing and managing a live tour at a local, national, and international scale. In the current music industry, live touring is often times the most important and lucrative component of an artist’s career. Students will learn how to logistically plan and budget for various sizes of venues and lengths of outings. Students will hone their skills particularly in logistics organization, time management, and financial forecasting.
Artist Deal Suite
MUS 3885 – This course will familiarize students with a variety of deal and contract types, including those used for recording, touring, merchandising, sponsorship, licensing, sync as well as the infamous 360 deal. Students will learn to identify and negotiate the basic terms and conditions of these contracts, discerning between good and bad deals for potential artists. A range of legalese will be unpacked and deciphered with the goal of honing students’ ability to negotiate with lawyers, record executives, and other major stakeholders in the music industry. Students will undertake several case studies to identify potential deals for artists, explaining how they would negotiate them and highlighting potential sticking points and strategies for solutions.
The Politics of A&R
MUS 3880 – Building directly on MUS 1880: Repertoire and Hit Song Analysis as well as MUS 1892: Artist Discovery and Development, this course will examine more advanced concepts and practices in artists and repertoire. While digging deeper into the history of artists and repertoire and record labels, this class focuses more acutely on the backroom negotiations and deal making that has contributed to their success or failure by examining various case studies of iconic figures in this field. This class will examine and compare both old and new models of artists and repertoire practice. Ultimately, students will gain an understanding of how industry professionals have navigated the complex politics between the various stakeholders in the music industry. Students will construct their own personal approach to artists and repertoire by synthesizing various historical methods and techniques in this field.
Musics of the World
MUS 3050 – The course will explore the diverse forms of musical expression found in within cultures from around the world. In addition to surveying a variety of musical practices, aesthetic systems, and functions of music, the fundamental theoretical approaches of ethnomusicology will be introduced and employed.
Ensemble
MUS 3810 – This course is a continuation of MUS 2810 and is designed to explore and study performance techniques through the rehearsal and performance of standard ensemble literature. Ensembles may also serve as reading labs for conducting classes. This course may be repeated for credit.
Recital Attendance
MUS 0020 – Students must attend a total of twelve performances selected from a list of approved performances provided at the beginning of each semester. Students must enroll during each semester of individual instruction, and must receive a “Satisfactory” grade in order to progress to the next Techniques and Improvisation level.
Introduction to Nutrition
NUT 2040 – This course is designed to provide the student with an understanding of the fundamental concepts of human nutrition, including digestion, absorption, metabolism, and function of nutrients as they relate to human health and disease.

Year 3: Semester 2

Music Industry Contract Negotiation
MUS 3882 -This course focuses on developing the skills necessary to initiate and broker various types of contracts and/or deals related to the contemporary music industry. While integrating theory and psychology into the class, students will spend a large portion of the semester practicing their negotiation skills in live role-playing exercises. Through such activities, students will gain the ability to draft deals/contracts with authority and complete mark-ups and final versions that balance artists’ aspirations, personal goals, and legal obligations.
Managing an Established Act
MUS 3884 – After learning about breaking and establishing an artist in previous semesters, this course will focus on how to sustain an artist’s career over the long term. Students will learn to navigate through changes in trends to ensure that their artists remain relevant in a dynamic environment. The class will cover maintaining existing audiences while attracting new ones through numerous marketing strategies. Students will also learn to re-brand and re-launch existing acts for new times, markets, and audiences. The course will examine a range of case studies, and require that students develop and present a plan to manage and elevate an existing act as well as re-imagine the career of an iconic artist who has fallen out of favor.
Jazz Styles - America's Music
MUS 3020 – This class explores the history of Jazz within the context of the African American cultural experience. The course will examine African musical aesthetics that are at the core of all forms of jazz throughout its history. The evolution of jazz will be traced, beginning with distinctly African American musical expressions such as minstrelsy, the blues, and ragtime, before surveying the developments and prominent figures of jazz in the 20th century including New Orleans and classic jazz, bebop and related movements, the innovations of Coleman and Taylor, the innovations of Miles Davis, and the jazz styles of the present.
Ensemble
MUS 3810 – This course is a continuation of MUS 2810 and is designed to explore and study performance techniques through the rehearsal and performance of standard ensemble literature. Ensembles may also serve as reading labs for conducting classes. This course may be repeated for credit.
Recital Attendance
MUS 0020 – Students must attend a total of twelve performances selected from a list of approved performances provided at the beginning of each semester. Students must enroll during each semester of individual instruction, and must receive a “Satisfactory” grade in order to progress to the next Techniques and Improvisation level.
Staging Cultures
THE 3213 – This course uses theatre history and dramatic texts to explore cultures of previously and/or presently marginalized peoples, including but not limited to African Americans, Hispanics, Asian Americans, women, and the GLBTQ community, in order to promote greater understanding of these peoples and their struggles for representation.
Introduction to Journalism and Mass Media
JRN 1010 – This survey course introduces students from all academic disciplines to the historical development of journalism and mass media and its relationship to contemporary society. Students will explore the functions and impact of newspapers, books, television, radio, magazines, films, public relations and issues such as technology convergence, censorship, economic control, and privacy.

Year 4: Semester 1

Record Label Operations
MUS 4880 – This course takes a comprehensive look at the day-to-day business operations of classic and contemporary record labels. While reviewing how to acquire (artists and repertoire) and manage a roster of artists, this course will primarily focus on the big picture and long-term planning that is needed to sustain such a business. Students will gain an understanding of how to establish and maintain distribution channels as well as the basics of the manufacturing process. Students will analyze case studies of existing labels, but also propose ideas for establishing and running their own original record label(s).
Music Industry Event Management
MUS 4882 – This course examines how to plan, produce, promote, and manage special events, from small club gigs and fundraisers to festival concerts and publicity tours. Students will build the organizational and communication skills necessary to design and execute such events. This course will focus on the analysis of past events, gaining insight into the processes and best practices for event creation and management. Additionally, students will work to produce and/or manage original event(s) throughout the term.
Fundamentals of Record Production
MUS 3888 – This class will focus on the processes of moving from a finished arrangement in the rehearsal room to a master recording. Students will learn about selecting the appropriate songs, quality control, pre-production, choosing and working with a producer and engineer, goal setting, mixing, mastering, and the politics of the recording studio. Throughout the semester, students will analyze and discuss the production of iconic songs and albums, exploring its effects on the entire songwriting and creative process. Partnering with local studios, students will have an opportunity to gain hands-on experience in a recording studio, working with industry producers and engineers to perform, conduct, mix, and master their own compositions.
Publishing and Copyright Law
MUS 4888 -This course examines the processes of publishing songs, including the basics of how to navigate the complexities of state, national, and international copyright law. While reviewing a history of copyright law, students will examine the roles of a publisher in acquisition, marketing, and creative development. The course will also cover various types of publishing deals to familiarize students with their standard terms and conditions, as they learn to protect their rights as songwriters, artists, and managers. This course will also explore songwriting splits and how to negotiate a fair and equitable publishing deal. Students will additionally learn how to register their songs and examine the legalities of licensing and synchronization.
Ensemble
MUS 3810 – This course is a continuation of MUS 2810 and is designed to explore and study performance techniques through the rehearsal and performance of standard ensemble literature. Ensembles may also serve as reading labs for conducting classes. This course may be repeated for credit.
Recital Attendance
MUS 0020 – Students must attend a minimum of 12 hours of MSU at DIME masterclasses and/or performances per semester, plus an additional 2 external musical events. These events, concerts, and masterclasses must cover a wide range of performance styles/genres (i.e., pop, jazz, classical, folk, electronic, world, etc.)
Sound and Music
PHY 3620 – This course will consider the basic nature of sound waves, the ear and hearing, musical instruments, and acoustics. Although this course is mainly descriptive, some high school algebra will be used.

Year 4: Semester 2

Music Industry Case Study Research
MUS 4884 -This class critically assesses the careers of numerous notable figures in the modern music industry. This analysis of a cross section of mangers, producers, record executives, artists and repertoire gurus, and publicity giants will provide an intense, intimate, and in-depth insight into the lives and work of the industry’s top professionals. Students will be required to undertake extensive primary and secondary research on several notable music industry figures, drawing out lessons and developing models for their own careers.
Commercial Music Capstone
MUS 4899 – This course is a culmination of the Music Industry Studies degree, requiring students to integrate and apply the knowledge they have gained over the entirety of their studies. Students will be asked to conduct ethnographic and library research in order to identify a range of potential career opportunities for themselves. Students will need to demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of A&R practice, marketing, self-employment skills, financial management, contracts, publishing, and sponsorships as they examine how these areas are relevant to their various potential career paths.
DIME Elective
XXX XXXX – Students will be able to choose from a selection of core courses in other disciplines (i.e., songwriting, music entrepreneurship) as well as a rotating group of offerings that may include: Home Recording, Live Sound, Detroit Music Heritage, Guitar Ensemble, Pop Music & Politics, Stage Management, and more!
DIME Elective
XXX XXXX – Students will be able to choose from a selection of core courses in other disciplines (i.e., songwriting, music entrepreneurship) as well as a rotating group of offerings that may include: Home Recording, Live Sound, Detroit Music Heritage, Guitar Ensemble, Pop Music & Politics, Stage Management, and more!
Ensemble
MUS 3810 – This course is a continuation of MUS 2810 and is designed to explore and study performance techniques through the rehearsal and performance of standard ensemble literature. Ensembles may also serve as reading labs for conducting classes. This course may be repeated for credit.
Recital Attendance
MUS 0020 – Students must attend a total of twelve performances selected from a list of approved performances provided at the beginning of each semester. Students must enroll during each semester of individual instruction, and must receive a “Satisfactory” grade in order to progress to the next Techniques and Improvisation level.
Marketing Around the Globe
MKT 2010 – Students study the importance of globalization in the business world where global markets are more connected and marketers must respond to the expectations of global consumers. The course covers the essential concepts of global marketing with the aid of extensive, real-life examples. The course offers balanced coverage of developed and developing markets. Integrating cultural analysis throughout the course, students examine global and local competition and forms of global market entry, as well as basic principles of global marketing strategies, such as price, product, distribution, and promotion.

Staff

Throughout your studies with MSU Denver at DIME Detroit, you will come into contact with a range of artists, practitioners, educators, support personnel, and administrative staff. Your key contacts will be the MSU Denver at DIME Detroit Campus Manager, DIME Head of Education, DIME Head of Student Services, your Head of Department, and MSU Denver faculty. You will enjoy regular contact with these people during your studies.

In addition, your education will be enhanced by input from a range of experts through masterclasses and their contribution to the design and writing of specific classes. Click here to see some of our previous guests.

Assessment

The modes of assessment used in this degree program include:

  • Portfolio of work
  • Small in-lecture tasks (solo and group)
  • Tests
  • Essays (critical, reflective, research-based)
  • Case Studies
  • Podcasts and digital media
  • Project Presentation
  • Project Documentation

In some cases, more than one mode of assessment will be used within a class to ensure that the learner can demonstrate that they have met all of the learning outcomes. The work produced for these assessments develops graduate outcomes required in employment, such as a high level of managerial and entrepreneurial competency, time management, written and oral communication, portfolio production, critical reflection, and team work. This is alongside self-motivation, independence, and creativity of thought.

Careers

MSU Denver at DIME Detroit and DIME are deeply committed to providing career advice and support. This starts in the recruitment of a roster of MSU Denver faculty who exemplify the values of a successful self-employed music professional in today’s music industry. MSU Denver at DIME Detroit courses and learning outcomes reflect the music business as it is today, and our commitment to degree development will ensure their currency in the future. MSU Denver students are encouraged throughout their studies to form realistic and achievable career goals; these will be underpinned by research and experience, providing a genuine understanding of the structure and operation within the industry. The philosophy is described as ‘designing your own professional life’ and you will see this theme recurring throughout the degree.

Further career opportunities/destinations may include, but are not limited to:

  • Music Industry Employee within a variety of companies, such as: Recording, Music Publishing, Live Agency, Artist/DJ/Producer Management
  • Music Entrepreneur
  • Author of educational materials (e.g. books, DVDs, etc)
  • Teaching

Further study opportunities include, but are not limited to:

  • Graduate Study
  • Masters of Business Administration (MBA)
  • Masters of Arts (MA)
  • Masters of Music (MM)
  • (K-12) Teaching Certification – National Board Certification by the American Board for Certification of Teaching Excellence (ABCTE)