Sophie Roland named as 2024 Faculty Scholars Award recipient

Congratulations to professor Sophie Roland who was recently announced as a recipient of one of Western University’s Faculty Scholars Awards.

Established in 2005, the Faculty Scholars Award recognizes significant recent scholarly achievements in teaching or research. Nominated by faculty deans and selected by the Faculty Selection committee chaired by Western’s Provost Florentine Strzelczyk, the recipients have an international presence in their discipline and are considered all-round scholars. Winners hold the title “Faculty Scholar” for two years and receive $15,000 each year for scholarly activities, as well as receiving a citation.

Pedagogy has become a central focus of Roland’s research program resulting in much overlap between her research and teaching. Her research focuses on artistic communication, specifically in professional singing and directing, and it involves both performance and research into the effective teaching of these skills.

Since 2010 she has formed several international partnerships. She has also focused her research efforts on creating opportunities for aspiring opera singers to develop acting and singing skills in tandem. As such, she designed and implemented two experiential learning programs that aimed to provide comprehensive training in operatic performance for singers, pianists, conductors, and instrumentalists. The Canadian Operatic Arts Academy (COAA) and the Accademia Europea dell’Opera (AEDO), were developed in 2009 and 2010, respectively.

Seeking to explore the impact of the approaches developed in these training academies empirically, in 2018 professor Roland successfully applied for a Teaching Fellow position at Western. In a cross disciplinary enterprise, she hired graduate students from Music Education, bringing their expertise to bear on Music Performance research in a way that has not been common in this field. Together, they developed a model of personal and communal reflection based on best practices in both fields and led professional development sessions to help share their research with faculty members. This work resulted not only in conference presentations but also in three co-authored publications in international peer-reviewed journals—an outcome that is rather unusual for a Performance faculty member, where research outputs are more typically performances and recordings.

Roland is one of 20 scholars at Western selected as part of the 2024 cohort of award winners.

Related links

Faculty Scholars Award recipients named (via Western News, April 9, 2024)

Research in Music – Don Wright Faculty of Music

Voice Division at Western University – Don Wright Faculty of Music