New Music Department Chair

The University of Dayton appointed Julia Randel as associate professor and chair of the department of music. Randel - an accomplished tuba player, musicologist and administrator - currently serves as music department chair at Hope College in Holland, Michigan. She begins her new role July 1.

Randel succeeds Sharon Davis Gratto, who begins her four-year term as University of Dayton Graul Chair in Arts and Languages during the 2017-18 academic year.

Randel’s spouse, trumpeter and singer Jimmy Leach, will serve as an artist-in-residence in the University music department. He will teach in the classroom, coach and advise music students, and perform with various ensemble groups.

The music department chair is responsible for the department’s administrative, curricular, co-curricular and budgetary facets, and supports its full range of undergraduate, graduate and co-curricular performance opportunities. The department includes 26 full-time faculty and about 35 part-time instructors.

Randel demonstrated how ably and creatively she will meet the position’s demands, said Heather MacLachlan, associate professor of ethnomusicology, who chaired the search committee.

“We are particularly interested in a department leader who has experience with and new ideas about expanding diversity in higher education,” MacLachlan said. “Dr. Randel shared some of the innovative programming she developed for both students and faculty at her current institution, and described some exciting possibilities that may be implemented here at UD.”

Randel joined Hope’s faculty in 2005 and became music department chair in 2014. Previously, she served as Hope’s director of global learning in the general education curriculum from 2012-2014. She also was associate director of the Mellon Scholars Program in the Arts & Humanities from 2013-2014.

Her research focuses on the intersection of music and dance in the work of Igor Stravinsky. Currently, she is working on a book about George Balanchine’s ballets as readings of Stravinsky’s music. In addition, she is building a digital archive of materials related to tours by Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes in the U.S. and Spain from 1916-1918.

“Throughout my time at Hope, I have been particularly committed to connecting the activities of the music department with the intellectual life of the college as a whole, and with the cultural life of the community,” Randel said.

She collaborated with the Holland Symphony Orchestra to plan a residency by composer Christopher Theofanidis. In cooperation with the Holland Area Big Read, she secured a grant from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs for a residency by Vietnamese musician Van-Anh Vo.

At the University of Dayton, she hopes to develop courses that address topics of music and dance, or music and text, from a cross-cultural perspective.

“Dr. Randel is a passionate advocate for liberal education and the vital role music and the arts play in a comprehensive university and in the community,” said Jason Pierce, University of Dayton College of Arts and Sciences dean. “She resonates deeply with the mission, priorities and aspirations of the music department, and will bring a creative and collaborative leadership style.”

Randel holds a doctorate degree in historical musicology from Harvard University; master’s degrees in musicology from the University of Georgia and in tuba performance from the University of Kentucky; and a bachelor’s in literature from Yale University.

The search committee also included Donna Cox, Samuel Dorf, Susan Gardstrom, Michelle Hayford and Robert Jones.

- Dave Larsen, communication coordinator, College of Arts and Sciences

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