December 13, 2019

CIM Wins Inaugural Sphinx Venture Fund Grant for Project that Widens the Road to Success for Music Faculty of Color

CIM bldg night

The Cleveland Institute of Music has made remarkable progress enrolling African American and Latinx students in the last three years. Now, thanks to a $150,000 Sphinx Venture Fund grant from the Sphinx Organization, the road to success has become wider for aspiring faculty of color.

With the grant, CIM will leverage its exceptional resources to establish an unprecedented initiative – “The Power of Teachers: A Missing Link in Diversifying the Academy” – an intensive, two-week institute for African American and Latinx graduate students, young professionals and junior faculty that will make a significant impact on music school and conservatory faculty. Designed to grow the skills, insights and networks needed for a successful career in academia, this institute will help coach prospective music professors to secure a job or achieve tenure.

The Sphinx grant is one of two inaugural awards the organization revealed Thursday, December 12. Earlier this year, Sphinx announced that it was investing $1.5 million over five years to transform the future of cultural diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) in the arts through the Sphinx Venture Fund (SVF). Through competitive grants, SVF is driving new programs that will solve a challenge or an issue related to DE&I in the sphere of the performing arts, with an emphasis on classical music.

In summer 2021, CIM will present a two-week institute for up to 35 African American and Latinx graduate students and young professionals considering a career in higher education, as well as current junior faculty looking to advance their skillset or secure tenure. Participants will be drawn from all areas and genres of music study – including classical, jazz, musicology, music history, composition and more – to achieve a superb range of talent with the power to change music departments across American higher education.

“No world-class institution of higher learning, including CIM, can achieve its mission of nurturing the next generation of musicians without a robust, more inclusive faculty – which is why transformative initiatives such as this new institute are so important in this moment,” said CIM President and CEO Paul W. Hogle. “Investing in faculty members who better reflect the students they teach is just as important as developing a pipeline of young musicians of color. These aims complement each other; both are necessary to create positive change in the pursuit of an academic career in music and the arts.”

CIM will invite national caliber speakers and subject matter experts, including specialists in the tenure process and accreditation, executive training professionals to deliver leadership and communication coaching, and tenured faculty to share their experiences. A rich curriculum and insightful workshops will feature these and other topics, such as how to navigate the job market from the beginning to landing an offer; advancing an academic career focused on how to be an effective teacher and plotting a course for the future; and the best ways to develop the “soft skills” teachers need to succeed in academia.      

In addition, CIM will incorporate multiple components focused on job placement and leverage its many connections across the country to create elements of a job fair, alerting potential employers to the opportunity to connect with top African American and Latinx job candidates and invite schools with upcoming openings to attend selected activities during the symposium.

At the program’s conclusion participants will hold significant advantages in securing a job or advancement in higher education and enhanced skills to last throughout their careers.

Hogle says CIM’s current programs make the school a perfect conduit for programs designed to increase music faculty diversity.

“The incredible work we have done to enroll students of color has caught the attention of music schools across the country, positioning us as a national model of excellence with a deep and authentic commitment to shift the status quo. We have the same obligation to be more inclusive in the faculty ranks as well,” Hogle said, adding that CIM also has been recognized for strengthening classical music better reflects and embodies what America’s communities look like.

Hogle extended his gratitude to the Sphinx Organization, which has been a close CIM collaborator for three years, a partnership which works to provide opportunities for African American and Latinx students to study in an intense yet fulfilling environment.

“We are grateful for the Sphinx Organization’s faith in us,” Hogle said. “Sphinx itself has offered unparalleled experiences for emerging professionals and performers for nearly 25 years and they are trusting CIM with investing the time and resources to develop outstanding faculty of color. As we approach our 100th anniversary in 2020, we pledge to make real progress on inclusiveness in classical musical education. Diverse voices and perspectives can only make classical music stronger – today and in the future.”