Seven of our most outstanding faculty members will receive awards during this year's Undergraduate Commencement ceremony. Professor David Macbride and Assistant Professors Daphne Berry and Michael Horwitz are profiled below. (Read about Professors Catherine Certo and Cy Yavuzturk and Associate Professors Warren Haston and Jane Horvath here.)
Composer and pianist David Macbride ’73, DMA, has written numerous works, ranging from solo, chamber, and orchestral music to music for film, TV, dance, and theatre, with an emphasis on percussion. During his more than 30 years teaching composition and music theory at The Hartt School, he has inspired and mentored hundreds of students, many of whom have gone on to become noted professional musicians.
An alumnus of The Hartt School, Macbride is universally recognized as one of the world’s most important composers of percussion music. The Humphrey R. Tonkin Award for Scholarly and/or Artist Creativity recognizes his works that challenge musicians technically, musically, and emotionally. His ability to embrace life’s issues and struggles is evident in pieces such as “Staying the Course,” a composition known to “shake the listeners to their core,” as it presents one note for every soldier who died in the Iraq war.
As a pianist, Macbride has toured much of the world performing recitals and is also known for his innovative audience-centered compositions. A recent work, “Percussion Park,” is a musical landscape where the audience is invited to freely roam the performance site in search of the music. The commissioned piece “Silent Hands” features an American Sign Language interpreter as part of the ensemble, and is intended to show connections between the expressiveness of sign language and musical gestures.
Macbride’s artistic endeavors have had a major influence on his teaching. He founded The Hartt School’s “Composers Ensemble,” providing an outlet for student composers to perform their own works, and initiated a course encouraging students to perform locally, having presented countless concerts himself throughout the Greater Hartford area and earning the University of Hartford’s Community Service Award in 2001.
Reflecting on his career at the University, Macbride acknowledges his mentor, Professor Emeritus Edward Diemente: “He provided me with positive experiences that set the stage for my composing to develop into a lifelong habit… I often remind my students that we are blessed to be in this world, the world of music, the world we live in.”
As Stephan Bullard, associate professor of biology and assistant dean of research in the University’s Hillyer College, explains, Horwitz “broadens our students’ understanding of how different disciplines relate to one another, increases student grades, and increases Hillyer College’s retention.”
An example of this approach is his popular All-University Curriculum (AUC) class “Why We Talk,” which takes up the study of the origins and evolution of language from the perspectives of fields such as anthropology, biology, linguistics, psychology, and culture. Student evaluations attest to the popularity of the class and his teaching style. “I feel that the whole class would strongly agree that he is one of our favorite professors and that we will all miss that class,” one student wrote.
These qualities have earned Horwitz the Donald W. Davis All-University Curriculum Award, which honors faculty members who are effective interdisciplinary teachers and scholars; have contributed to the All-University Curriculum (AUC) program as a whole; and are advocates for interdisciplinary education.
In addition to developing and teaching new courses, Horwitz helps other professors start their own interdisciplinary courses. Since 2009, he has coordinated Hillyer College’s learning community initiative, a project linking courses from different disciplines and fostering collaborative work among professors. This past year, 50 percent of Hillyer students experienced a learning community in their first semester.
Horwitz’s creativity is evident in his passion for refining his teaching style to engage his students by constantly infusing new technologies, ideas, and pedagogies into his course. His creativity extends to the performing arts as he is a published composer and songwriter.
Horwitz, who joined the University in 2008, earned his bachelor’s in psychology with a minor in philosophy from the University of Richmond, a master’s in counseling from Virginia Commonwealth University, as well as a master’s in literacy and a PhD in theoretical linguistics from the City University of New York.
Daphne Berry, PhD, is an outstanding teacher and prolific published researcher in the fields of management and organizational behavior. She is passionate about sharing her expertise in employee ownership, worker cooperatives, and social enterprises with her students. Berry’s extensive accomplishments earned her the Belle K. Ribicoff Junior Faculty Prize, which recognizes an outstanding professor who is in a tenure-track position but is not yet tenured.
A dedicated mentor, Berry has been advising students since joining the University in 2012 and helps coach new faculty on advising. She is actively engaging an undergraduate student in a major research project on employee ownership and modest income workers. She also supervises honors theses for the Department of Management, Marketing, and Entrepreneurship.
In addition to teaching existing courses in the Barney School of Business, Berry has created two new popular classes. Socially Responsible Enterprises explores the way business organizations address the need for continuity between the social, environmental, and economic outcomes of business activity. Sustainable Work-places in Northern Spain, which Berry developed with Professor of Management John Ogilvie, is a short-term study abroad class that focuses on sustainable business practices and social enterprises such as worker cooperatives. Each of these classes fulfills the Barney School’s mission of preparing leaders who are globally aware and socially responsible.
Berry already has eight blind peer-reviewed journal publications and five peer-reviewed book chapters, well above what is typical of other junior faculty approaching the tenure decision. She is an editorial board member of the Journal of Co-operative Organization and Management and Equality, Diversity and Inclusion: An International Journal, another unusual accomplishment for someone at her career level. Deborah Kidder, Berry’s department chair, calls her a role model for other junior faculty.
“She is an inspired teacher, an accomplished scholar, a strong contributor to the life of this institution,” Kidder says. “She meets or exceeds every criteria for this prestigious award.”
Berry worked as an engineer early in her career after earning her bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Notre Dame and her master’s in electrical engineering from Rice University. She returned to academia to earn her PhD in management from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.