Exceptional resources, extraordinary opportunities
Cody Norling, of Champlin, Minnesota, is pursuing his PhD in Musicology. He describes his UI School of Music experience:
As a researcher, I value the access to quality academic resources provided by the School of Music, a service that is second to none. Our music library is the academic hub of the school, both physically and electronically, and is indispensable to my work. As a student, I appreciate the openness and inclusive nature of our faculty. The courses I have taken allow for personal interactions with the course material, and the instructors have gone out of their way to make themselves available to students—a department ethos that is certainly not the norm elsewhere. As a colleague, I am inspired by many of my fellow graduate students on a regular basis. The School of Music seems to attract a particular type of hard-working student.
Advancing Career Goals
Following my studies at the University of Iowa, I plan to teach. Though my personal research and publishing will remain important (and are obvious strengths when it comes to seeking a teaching position), my primary goal is to teach undergraduates. The music history curriculum is an important part any collegiate music department and often provides a foundational understanding of music, in a socio-historical context to students primarily confronted with music as a notated object. By providing me with and encouraging participation in teaching positions in traditional art-music survey courses, general-education courses on popular music, courses for the Department of Dance, and foundational undergraduate sources in the Department of Rhetoric, the musicology faculty is preparing me to bring a breadth of disciplinary inquiries to my teaching.
Any quality music history survey must include larger humanistic subjects such as writing, research, personal embodiment, and critical thinking, and the experiences I have been encouraged to pursue by my faculty bring a methodological diversity to understanding of these necessary modes of inquiry. Furthermore, my professional pursuits are well supported. From Professor Marian Wilson Kimber's regular offering of editorial advice to the School’s financial contributions to my conference travels, I am thoroughly supported in my professional and academic work.
I chose to pursue graduate studies at the University of Iowa's School of Music because of its academic resources, open faculty, and commitment to both professional and financial support of its graduate students. The openness of the faculty was made apparent upon my initial visit to campus. Throughout a day of classroom visits and office meetings, each member of the musicology faculty who personally engaged with me showed genuine interest in my background and interests. After receiving my assistantship offer and funding package (the most robust and comprehensive of the schools to which I applied), it was clear that the School's commitment to graduate students extended beyond personal interaction and academic support, to the personal well-being of the graduate student body. This initial conclusion has continued to reaffirm itself over the last few years.
Extraordinary Opportunities, Friendly Support
In August 2018, I began teaching for the university's Department of Rhetoric (a two-year, teacher's training program) and, as such, relocated to an office down the hill. The opportunity to design and implement my own course as an Instructor of Record is a great opportunity, but it ultimately meant separation from my department. Roughly one month into my new job, Associate Professor Nathan Platte came to visit me in my new office. We spoke for almost an hour about the events of our semesters thus far, my research project, and some of the highlights of our recent movie viewings. It was a great experience that demonstrates the humanity of our faculty. This is just one example of many.