Michael Haithcock, professor of music (conducting) and director of bands at the School of Music, Theatre & Dance, has been named one of six recipients of an Arthur F. Thurnau professorship recognizing his outstanding contributions to undergraduate education at the University of Michigan.
Haithcock was selected for his dedicated teaching and transformative leadership. He was lauded for working tirelessly to provide unique learning experiences and developing strong relationships with students, attending each student's individual recital and writing more than 100 recommendation letters each year. In addition, he seeks out opportunities for his students to perform in major venues across the world, including Carnegie Hall in New York City, the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, and, most recently, in venues throughout China. In preparation for this most recent tour (in 2011), he organized a seminar series on Chinese history and culture for participating students, led required rehearsals, and designed an itinerary that balanced performances with educational excursions to significant cultural sites.
Each year Thurnau professorships recognize and reward a select group of tenured faculty members for their outstanding contributions to undergraduate education. Criteria for the award include a strong commitment to students and to teaching and learning, excellence in teaching, innovation in teaching and learning, a strong commitment to working effectively with a diverse student body, and a demonstrable impact on students' intellectual and/or artistic development. The appointments, approved Thursday by the Board of Regents, are titles the six will retain throughout their careers at the university.
The professorships are named after alumnus Arthur F. Thurnau and supported by the Thurnau Charitable Trust, which was established through his will. Recipients receive $20,000 to support teaching activities, including travel, books, equipment and graduate student support.