Understanding the Work and Perspectives of Music Faculty through Positive Leadership1

  • Issue: Volume 61, No. 1
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.18177/sym.2020.61.1.sr.11519
  • PDF: https://www.jstor.org/stable/27041502


Executive leadership in music departments and schools is central to influencing the work environment and perspectives of music faculty. Survey responses of a national sample of ranked music professors (N=1,345) were analyzed to examine the relationship between faculty perceptions of leaders and faculty work perspectives. We ran a series of multiple regressions to understand the relationships between faculty work dimensions and their perceptions of leaders utilizing the Positive Leadership Model (PL): work climate, communication, relationships, and meaning. Quantitative analysis shows that music faculty who participate in vision setting, curriculum development, and budget planning view their leaders in a positive light in all four PL dimensions. A fair, consistent, and balanced evaluation system is also associated with all areas of Positive Leadership. In response to an open-ended question to describe ideal work conditions, music professors expressed their concerns, specifically about leadership, funding, balanced workload, tenure and promotion, communication and transparency, professional development, and institutional goals and values. These comments were analyzed for their content and put into the four PL frames. A new nomenclature emerged from the data—structure, indicating that music professors looked beyond the PL model. In a word, they pointed to the academic structure that hampers their work perspective and optimistic view of executive leadership.

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Last modified on Monday, 24/01/2022

Sang-Hie Lee and Jonathan McNaughtan

Sang-Hie Lee (PhD University of Michigan; EdD/DMA University of Georgia), Professor of Music and former Associate Dean of the College of The Arts at the University of South Florida, is an active teacher, performer, researcher, author, and cross-disciplinary administrator. Lee is the author of Scholarly Research for Musicians (McGraw Hill 2015–16, and Routledge 2017–21 [second edition] in progress), the editor of Perspectives in Performing Arts Medicine: A Multidisciplinary Approach (Springer 2020), and the founding editor of the Cultural Expressions in Music Monograph Series of the College Music Society (2008–14). She has published 72 scholarly articles, presented 85 conference papers and lectures, and performed solo and chamber-music concerts in the USA, South Korea, China, Serbia, Brazil, Italy, and Canada. http://music.arts.usf.edu/content/templates/?a=1396

Jon McNaughtan (PhD University of Michigan; MA Education Policy, Stanford University) is an Assistant Professor at Texas Tech University where his research focuses on leadership in higher education from multiple perspectives. He particularly studies the roles and experiences of college presidents. His work has also identified the importance of empowerment and effective management strategies to increase job satisfaction and commitment at work. https://www.depts.ttu.edu/education/our-people/Faculty/jon_mcnaughtan.php

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