What is your current job title and responsibilities?
Director, UCF Center for Research and Education in Arts, Technology, and Entertainment (CREATE) and Pegasus Professor. I direct CREATE and maintain our community partnerships, grant applications, and general activities and projects associated with CREATE and its affiliated faculty and staff.
What is your history at UCF? (past job titles, responsibilities)
I began my career at UCF in 1985, first as a Visiting Instructor in the Department of Music, filling in for faculty members who had gone on sabbatical leave. I then moved into a tenure-earning track in 1987, and since then, I have continued my employment at UCF. Thus, UCF has been my one and only academic “home.” I attained Full Professorship in Music, but in recent years, I took a career change and moved into the Dept. of Digital Media (now part of the School of Visual Arts and Design) to work with the character animation students in developing music for their films. For the past six years, I have been Director of UCF-CREATE.
What is your favorite UCF memory?
I suppose that for me personally, the best thing I remember was receiving the letter that I had been Tenured and Promoted from an Assistant to Associate Professor. As a young professor, this meant that I could look forward to continuing my work at UCF, and that I had an academic home not only at a university that I really liked, but also in my home State of Florida.
What is one piece of advice you would like to share with your colleagues?
Some advice that was given to me by a wonderful mentor which I keep in my mind always: maintain your love and enthusiasm of teaching and sharing with others whatever gifts you have, and maintain standards of excellence in your teaching and work—remember why you are here, what you are doing, and for whom you doing it. Once these things no longer have meaning or interest for you, pass the torch!
What is your favorite book or movie or song?
Favorite movie: AMADEUS.
What is your dream vacation spot?
Paris (France) is my absolute favorite city!
What is your favorite sport to watch or participate?
I love swimming. I get a lot of thinking done underwater!
If UCF was going to name something in your honor, what would you like it to be?
I think an endowed scholarship or Chair would be wonderful.
Who at UCF would you like to thank for your success?
I am fortunate to have had many mentors, friends, colleagues, and students who have made –and continue to make–my life at UCF a wonderful experience. I am grateful to so many people at UCF whom I would like to thank, that naming them all would truly be impossible. Some folks have retired, some have passed away, some have moved away, and some are still here, but all have a special place in my heart.
Name and describe a teacher from you past who truly inspired you.
I had a wonderful 9th grade teacher at my school in Gainesville, FL (where I was born and raised), by the name of Mary Cornett. She introduced me—and all of her students—to poetry, existential thought and writers, meditation, and learning to keep an open mind. And for me as a youngster interested in the Arts, it was truly important to me to have had a teacher who understood and nurtured that artistic spirit.
What undergraduate class/program inspired you the most and why?
I had a wonderful class in 20th -century music at the University of Michigan where I did my undergraduate Bachelor of Music degree (Ann Arbor) taught by a musicologist named Glenn Watkins. This class introduced me to the interesting “fin-de-siecle” life and work of many painters, musicians, dancers, writers, and artists of the day. Although the class was a music history class, the integration and interdisciplinary approach of the way that the class was taught, gave me insight to the creative minds and spirits of the many amazing artists at the turn-of-the-century. Later, when I taught the same kind of class at UCF, I modeled my approach to my class from the notes and texts that I had saved from my Univ. of MI class and was thus able to introduce my students to the same artists and works that I had come to love and admire.