January 26, 2021

CIM Unveils the Future of Music Faculty Fellowship

Illustration of people of different genders and skin colors, with text reading Future of Music Faculty Fellowship

CIM Unveils the Future of Music Faculty Fellowship, a Groundbreaking Initiative to Elevate Black and Latinx Educators Within the Music Academy

Powered by the Sphinx Venture Fund, the first-of-its-kind virtual fellowship addresses underrepresentation in music school faculty

Online information session on Saturday, January 30; applications due by May 1

CLEVELAND (January 27, 2021) – Today, the Cleveland Institute of Music unveiled its Future of Music Faculty Fellowship, a critical step forward in creating a culture of diversity within the music academy and beyond. Powered by a grant awarded in the inaugural cycle of the Sphinx Venture Fund, this first-of-its-kind career development initiative will engage up to 35 Black and Latinx music professionals who are pursuing or considering academic careers, preparing them with the skills, insights and networks to flourish professionally and influence generations of musicians. The Fellowships will be awarded through a competitive application process.

Keynote speakers Simon Sinek, best known for his TED talk “How Great Leaders Inspire Action” and the related bestselling book Start with Why, and MacArthur “genius” grant winner Dr. Angela Duckworth, author of the book Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, will deliver inspiring messages. Program faculty will include university presidents, music school deans, experienced faculty, teaching artists and performance psychologists from institutions ranging from The Juilliard School to the University of Richmond to the Heifetz Institute.

“The Future of Music Faculty Fellowship has bold ambitions: to catalyze change within our institutions now and for years to come,” said CIM President & CEO Paul W. Hogle. “Educators have a profound influence on students and on discourse. As our field works to actualize diversity on our campuses, on our stages and in our audiences, it is vitally important that we place musicians of color in positions of leadership and power – including our classrooms. In partnership with an all-star faculty from music programs across the nation, the Future of Music Faculty Fellowship will give participants a competitive edge in the complex world of academia.”

Afa S. Dworkin, president and artistic director of the Sphinx Organization, the social justice organization dedicated to transforming lives through the power of diversity in the arts that is funding the Fellowship and other innovative projects that address inequities in classical music, commented: “CIM is a proven and authentic leader in creating opportunities for musicians of color. We hope that the Future of Music Faculty Fellowship will spark important dialogue, motivate action, elevate musicians of color into tenured professorships and ultimately accelerate positive change.”

A live, free virtual information session will take place on Saturday, January 30, from 12:15-12:45pm Eastern, in conjunction with SphinxConnect; register at bit.ly/fellow-info-session. Applications are due by May 1, 2021; access the application and additional program information at cim.edu/fellowship.


The Future of Music Faculty Fellowship will bring together a cohort of up to 35 Black and Latinx music professionals who aspire to academic careers. The program is offered at no cost to participants, and Black and Latinx musicians and scholars from across disciplines and genres – from classical to jazz, from performance to pedagogy – are eligible to apply.

Beginning in June 2021 and taking place over several months, the Fellowship is structured as a series of virtual convenings. The program concludes in January 2022 with an in-person convening coinciding with SphinxConnect 2022; travel, lodging and conference registration are included for Fellows.

Program curriculum will cover practical skills, such as navigating the tenure process, as well as soft skills, such as thriving in a highly competitive work environment. As important as skill development, Fellows will receive a powerful platform for showcasing their skills to potential employers, as well as a career mentor, who will offer personalized coaching and career advice during and between modules.

Focus areas and key dates:

  • Module 1 (June 25-27): The Academic Job Market
  • Module 2 (July 30-Aug 1): Navigating the Search Process
  • Module 3 (Aug 27-29): Effective Teaching
  • Module 4 (Oct 22-24): The Politics of Academia
  • Module 5 (Dec 3-5): Peak Performance and Influencing at All Levels
  • Module 6 (Jan 27-29, 2022): Putting it All Together, in person at SphinxConnect
Graphic showing photos of six faculty members

Program faculty will be drawn from conservatories and music programs nationwide, and include some of the most renowned leaders and thinkers in higher education and music. They include:

  • Dr. Carlos R. Abril, Professor and Associate Dean, Frost School of Music, University of Miami
  • Dr. Michael Birenbaum Quintero, Associate Professor of Music and Chair of Musicology and Ethnomusicology, Boston University
  • Dr. José Bowen, author of Teaching Naked and former President of Goucher College
  • Dr. Ellen Burts-Cooper, Senior Managing Partner, Improve Consulting, and Adjunct Faculty, Weatherhead Executive Education
  • Dr. Frank Candelaria, Dean, Blair School of Music, Vanderbilt University
  • Dr. Ronald Crutcher, President and Professor of Music, University of Richmond
  • Dr. Rodney Dorsey, Professor and Chair of Department of Bands, Jacobs School of Music, Indiana University
  • Dr. Aaron Flagg, Chair and Associate Director of Jazz Studies, The Juilliard School
  • Dr. Jason Geary, Dean, Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University
  • Dr. Don Greene, author of Audition Success, Fight Your Fear & Win and Performance Success
  • Dr. Eileen M. Hayes, Dean, College of Arts and Communication, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, and former President of the College Music Society
  • Dr. Alisha Lola Jones, Assistant Professor of Ethnomusicology, Indiana University
  • Dr. Ricardo Lorenz, Professor and Chair of Music Composition, Michigan State University
  • Dr. Karen Kelsky, author of The Professor is In
  • Daniel Pettrow, Director of Performance and Communication Training, Heifetz International Music Institute
  • Dr. Louise Toppin, Professor of Music (Voice), University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance


Decades of research point to the myriad benefits of diversity: socially diverse groups are more innovative, more productive and demonstrate better quality of thinking than homogenous groups. In academic settings, diversity of faculty promotes a rich learning environment for all students, preparing them to succeed in a world that is itself diverse (C.L. Brown, 1998). A faculty composed of academics of many backgrounds ensures role modeling for the student body at large and students of color in particular (Anthony L. Antonio, 2003). 

Despite ongoing efforts across academia to increase faculty representation, the lack of diversity is a persistent problem: Black and Latinx individuals make up less than 10% of full-time, tenured faculty, and within the classical music academy specifically, the percentage drops even lower.

The Future of Music Faculty Fellowship is the latest addition to CIM’s ongoing work to nurture a culture of diversity. Since 2016, focused recruiting efforts have resulted in a 338% increase in Black and Latinx students, and a student-founded, student-led Black Student Union now helps to shape the day-to-day discourse on campus. At the preparatory level, CIM’s Musical Pathway Fellowship for pre-college students has broadened the pipeline of Cleveland-based young people of color who are prepared to study at highly selective conservatories. CIM’s relationship with the Sphinx Organization includes hosting the Sphinx Performance Academy summer chamber music program, presenting the Sphinx Virtuosi and the Catalyst Quartet, and serving as a retreat host and on the advisory panel for the Sphinx LEAD program.

“CIM is committed to doing the work to change the face of classical music, so that it looks and sounds more like the communities we serve. We are enormously grateful to Sphinx for their partnership, trust and support,” concluded Hogle.


Applications are open and will be accepted through May 1, 2021.

Who may apply? Black and Latinx doctoral students, those who hold adjunct or junior faculty positions and professional musicians who are considering a career in academia are encouraged to apply. The Fellowship is open to all music genres and disciplines, including performance, music theory, jazz studies, ethnomusicology and more.

All elements of the program are offered free of charge to selected Fellows. Fellows will receive travel, lodging and SphinxConnect registration for the in-person convening in January 2022.

To access the application and conference agenda, please visit cim.edu/fellowship

Sphinx Organization logo






The Future of Music Faculty Fellowship is powered by a grant from the Sphinx Venture Fund.