President Simon Honors Teaching at the College of Music

MSU recognizes two faculty, graduate student at annual awards ceremony.

President Lou Anna K. Simon address attendees of MSU's Outstanding Faculty Awards ceremony. Courtesy MSU, photo by Gregg Kohuth.

Two faculty and one graduate student from the MSU College of Music were honored for their excellent dedication, innovation and contributions to teaching, research, creative activities and service at the annual MSU Awards Convocation in February. 

Sandra Snow, professor of choral conducting and music education, received the William J. Beal Outstanding Faculty Award for advancing the artistry and pedagogy in choral music and music education. Considered one of the world’s leading pedagogues in choral music as well as one the most gifted and well-respected choral conductors of her generation, Snow has helped develop a new generation of choral teachers and conductors in all levels of music education. Her research non-hierarchal planning and preparation for teaching has become a model in the field for ensemble leaders, while her 2009 work “Conducting/Teaching: Real-World Strategies for Success” has been adopted in colleges and universities nationwide.

“I am deeply moved by this award. A nomination for the Beal involves a community of students, former students, colleagues and administrators and I am humbled by their efforts on my behalf,” says Snow. “I am keenly aware of the figures in my life that encouraged and shaped me as a scholar, teacher, and artist. The enduring message that I did not have to choose, but could embody all these identities, has led to a fulfilling career.”

Etienne Charles, associate professor of jazz studies, received the MSU Teacher-Scholar award for his distinguished achievements in teaching, service, and artistry. Regarded as a leader among performers, composers and scholars, Charles has released two critically acclaimed albums since joining the MSU faculty, and was recently named a John Simon Guggenheim Fellow. A teacher and mentor, Charles has guided his students and ensembles to increasingly higher levels, garnering respect through festivals, awards and invitations. His unique approach to teaching draws from jazz traditions as well as elements of his Caribbean heritage. Charles helped launch MSU’s “Latin IS America” festival, and continues to mentor students in the MSU Community Music jazz program in Detroit. 

“I’m humbled and honored to be included among such a distinguished group of scholars and teachers in service to their respective professions, the students, and MSU,” says Charles. “I’m truly grateful for the opportunity to serve this great university.”

Stuart Chapman Hill, doctoral candidate in music education, received the MSU Excellence in Teaching Citation for his elegant teaching style, scholarship, creative depth, and research into new approaches to K-12 music education. An accomplished songwriter, composer, and scholar, Hill is considered a valued colleague at MSU where he teaches songwriting and has co-taught the foundations of music education course. Hill has presented at several, selective national conferences, while his cutting-edge scholarship focuses on bridging the gap between music in schools and music as lived in the world.

“Receiving this award makes me feel great because I fundamentally see myself as a teacher,” Hill says. “It’s a big honor that affirms and recognizes what is so essential to me. I feel so fortunate to have had such rich teaching opportunities at MSU, and to work alongside such outstanding faculty.”

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