In Conversation with President Eileen M. Hayes

Eileen Hayes

Faculty of Color in a World of Pink and Blue

A 1984 essay by Larry Wolz features a digest on the association, over time, of the color pink with the music discipline and its evolving role in the history of academic ceremonial attire.[i] My interest this month is our collective effort to increase the number of faculty of color whose regalia incorporates the pink velvet trimming. In actual fact, my reference to the color pink as a denoter of affiliation elides the varied backgrounds of those who comprise our faculties of music, including Ph.Ds whose velvet trim may be blue.  My point, however, is that the numbers of faculty of color from underrepresented minority groups are not keeping pace with the increasing diversity of our student bodies at the undergraduate level. Last year as I was speaking with various groups about faculty inclusion and belonging in music, administrators said they appreciated the statistics I shared from that year’s HEADS report, the annual update completed by all NASM institutional members.[ii]  

Music Chart 60, for example, reveals a total number of 10,683 music faculty (including ranked and unranked) at NASM affiliated institutions.  At the rank of full professor, there are 2,236 white males and 802 white females. This contrasts with 78 black males and 37 black females at that rank.  Hispanic full professors of any race include 55 males and 22 females. At the level of assistant professor, the data reflect 1,169 white males and 628; 73 black males and 34 black females; and 71 male and 34 Hispanics of any race.  Numbers of faculty identifying as American Indian/Alaska Native are even lower: 8 male and 2 female full professors; 7 males and 2 females at the assistant professor level. I am including the real numbers because in many instances, the entire cohort can fit into one of our small recital halls or classrooms.  Clearly, we have a ways to go in regard to the welcome of faculty of color across all music disciplines and we look forward to sharing successes in faculty recruitment and retention at this year’s annual conference in Louisville.

Notwithstanding the color of regalia trim, I am committed to working shoulder to shoulder with our CMS membership in seeing that faculty of color are welcomed into our conservatories, schools, colleges and departments of music with all deliberate speed.


[i] Larry Woz is Professor Emeritus at Hardin-Simmons University, where he taught voice, vocal pedagogy, and music history for 37 years.

Wolz. Larry.  “Scherzo: Ugh! Why Pink? A Brief History of Music's Academic Color.” College Music Symposium, Vol. 24, No. 2 (1984): 149-152.

[ii] The HEADS report is the annual compilation of statistics provided by the Higher Education Arts Data Services Project of NASM.