Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Deanna Joseph
Dr. Deanna Joseph, Georgia State University’s Director of Choral Activities, was awarded the 2015 Excellence in Teaching Award for the College of Arts and Sciences. The College has over 640 full-time faculty, and Dr. Joseph was the single winner.
Dr. Joseph’s award was announced at the April 21, 2015 College faculty meeting. Patrick K. Freer, Interim Director of the School of Music, introduced Dr. Joseph with the following remarks: I am extremely pleased that Dr. Deanna Joseph has received the 2015 Outstanding Teaching Award in the College of Arts and Sciences. Dr. Joseph serves as Director of Choral Activities at Georgia State and has primary responsibility for all choral performances and all instruction related to choral conducting and literature.
The search process that ultimately brought Dr. Joseph was initially deemed a failure, and it was only through the unusual reopening of the search that Dr. Joseph came our way. I was on the search committee. She was the third of three on-campus interviewees. The University Singers, Georgia State University’s elite auditioned choir, was frustrated and morale was low. Dr. Joseph walked into her audition with the University Singers (the equivalent of a “job talk” in other disciplines) and quickly galvanized the ensemble – including several very reluctant young men seated directly in front of me – into a rehearsal that was productive, musically satisfying, and intellectually stimulating. She did not acquiesce to mediocrity, and the students responded with a standing ovation at the end of the audition. We literally had no choice but to see that she was offered the job.
Student enthusiasm for Dr. Joseph has continued. Under her leadership, GSU choirs have become dominant in the field, both regionally and nationally. Dr. Joseph is one of our most effective student recruiters, as she is regularly invited to guest conduct high school honor choirs across the country.
“Dr. Joseph can sum up complicated readings very efficiently. She’s extremely positive, loves what she is doing, and is very gentle and encouraging with students (but is not a pushover),” comments one of Dr. Joseph’s undergraduate student.
Under her direction, the Master in Music program in Choral Conducting increased to its largest enrollment and is now at full capacity.
Here are comments from her graduate students:” There’s an initial intrigue when she walks onto the stage. How can someone this unassuming be in command of the musical forces? And then she begins her gesture. It’s magical. I want to be like that.”
“Her personality is outgoing, loving, encouraging, and infectiously inviting. She just always knows when you need something, whether it’s something technical, something research-based . . . or even something like baked goods!”
Finally here are comments from her fellow faculty members:
“Simply put, Dr. Joseph is an exceptionally strong teacher. She is demanding but kind, so much so that her GSU students nominated her for the 2014 Grammy Music Educator Award. Out of over 30,000 nominees, she was one of the top ten finalists.”
“In the best of academic situations in all fields, one’s research and creative activities will overlap with their teaching in a way that augments the students’ experience in numerous and incalculable ways. This is the case with Dr. Joseph’s work. Dr. Joseph is what we all aspire to be: professors of the highest caliber who are also highly effective, thoughtful, and respected teachers.”
Congratulations to Dr. Deanna Joseph.