H. Roz Woll is pursuing a D.M.A. in vocal performance at the Graduate Center, with a certification in Africana studies. Her dissertation connects the political economy of race to choral music curricula, and studies the efficacy of certain pedagogical approaches in enabling students to make such connections. She is an adjunct faculty member at Queens College, where she teaches studio voice and vocal pedagogy, and where she created a course that serves as the basis for her dissertation, “Choral Music of the African Diaspora in the United States: Toward a Living Black History.” The course is designed to connect students with community-based leaders who are experts in various genres of black choral music, and who can speak to sociopolitical realities and historical contexts related to the African diaspora.
There aren’t many schools where I could explicitly integrate a desire to develop musical performance skills with a desire to study critical race theory and political economy, simultaneously immersed in a metropolitan area bursting with diverse cultural expressions and intellectual communities. The Enhanced Chancellor’s Fellowship provided me with the means to not only move from Chicago to New York City to pursue my research and performance interests, but also allowed me to gain invaluable teaching experience at Queens College, from which my dissertation grew. The opportunity to serve as a Writing Fellow at Queens College also provided me with new training to use writing as a tool for critical thinking, and has contributed both to my teaching philosophy and to my own research. As I approach the final part of my degree, I am grateful for a doctoral experience characterized by high expectations within a supportive atmosphere of diverse, world-class faculty. I don’t think this is a given in academic settings, and it has enabled me to synthesize seemingly disparate interests into a meaningful vocation, invigorated by the resource that is New York City.