UI School of Music names new director

A new director of the UI School of Music has officially been selected. Tammie Walker, current dean at Western Illinois University School of Music, will join the Hawkeye team in July.

Rachel Steil, News Reporter

After an eight-month search, the University of Iowa School of Music has a new director. Tammie Walker, who will assume the role July 1, hopes to help steer the school into a new phase after its long recovery from the 2008 flood.

Walker has outlined four focus areas that she plans to explore as the director. The first area is recruitment, she said. She wants to find the optimal balance between undergraduate and graduate students. The second is curricula.

“The department is poised for a lot of innovation, advancements, new ideas in terms of degree offerings and collaborative opportunities,” she said.

The third area is the internationalization and diversification of the school in terms of courses, ensemble offerings, and faculty and visiting artist recruitment.

The fourth area of focus is community, because she wants the school’s influence to reach beyond the walls of Voxman.

“We all have an obligation to give back and enrich the lives of our communities,” Walker said.

The current Voxman Music Building opened in the fall of 2017; the music students, faculty, and staff had been without a main facility since the original Voxman was flooded in June 2008.

“We were like people wandering the desert for eight years,” said Professor Benjamin Coelho, the interim director of the school. “Now, it is time to look forward.”

Walker recognizes that the members of the Music School are ready to move in a new direction.

“[The School of Music] has survived the eight years of stress and trauma of the flood,” Walker said. “It is an exciting time to come in as a director of a department that is that strong, cohesive, and driven.”

RELATED: University of Iowa selects Montse Fuentes as new provost 

The search for a new director began in August 2018, when former Director David Gier submitted his letter of resignation, said Joseph Kearney, the interim dean of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences. Gier accepted the position of dean at the University of Michigan.

Kearney said that Walker is the perfect fit for the position.

“She had a really solid base of experience,” he said. “She’s a creative and vibrant administrator.”

Walker is the dean of the Western Illinois University School of Music. She has been part of that music faculty for 21 years.

Coelho said Walker stood out because of her articulate vision for the school’s future.

“She had ideas of her own, but she always referred to the fact we will work toward this together,” he said.

Walker said she was eager to apply for the position because of the school’s reputation.

“I am aware of the quality of the institution and the incredible reputation of the School of Music faculty [has had] for decades,” Walker said.

Kearney said that he is excited to welcome Walker to the UI community — and Walker is excited to join.

“I am most looking forward to working with the incredible music faculty and the talented, brilliant students,” Walker said.

Coelho said she is going to bring new, fresh ideas and outside perspectives to the school.

“We are at a time of transition in the school,” Kearney said. “I think part of what Tammie is going to bring is tremendous energy.”