Two Music Alumni Receive Tenure-Track Appointments at Prestigious Institutions

July 12, 2021

Michèle Duguay will start as an assistant professor at Indiana University and Noel Torres-Rivera will be an assistant professor of music theory at the University of Missouri Kansas City Conservatory.

Michèle Duguay and Noel Torres-Rivera
Michèle Duguay and Noel Torres-Rivera

Two 2021 alumni of the Graduate Center Ph.D.-D.M.A. Program in Music received tenure-track faculty positions, adding to the program's record of placing alumni at prestigious institutions.

Michèle Duguay, who defended her Ph.D. music theory dissertation, Gendering the Virtual Space: Sonic Femininities and Masculinities in Contemporary Top 40 Music, in June, will start as an assistant professor at Indiana University. Noel Torres-Rivera, who wrote his dissertation on Puerto Rican avant-garde composer Rafael Aponte-Ledée, will be an assistant professor of music theory at the University of Missouri Kansas City Conservatory.

Duguay, who taught for four years at City College while at the Graduate Center, credited her teaching experience and her varied interests with helping her to get a position. “I did the Women’s Studies Certificate Program, and that’s something I emphasized in my applications,” she says. “These are very nice aspects of the GC, that it has programs that can help you develop specific aspects of your research, and that it gives a lot of teaching opportunities.”

Torres-Rivera, who focuses on Latin American music, history, and politics, also says his interdisciplinary and teaching background helped him to receive an offer. He taught undergraduate and graduate students while doing research in Puerto Rico and more recently as an adjunct at New Jersey City University, and also taught at City College. “The experience of being pushed into a classroom as an instructor from year two definitely changed my perspective, not only in my academic work but also in how I developed my teaching skills,” he says. “I think very few Ph.D. programs provide their students with such a solid teaching experience. That’s one of the greatest things about the GC.”

“We are immensely proud of Michèle Duguay and Noel Torres-Rivera as they embark on these tenure-track positions,” says Professor Norman Carey, the executive officer of the Ph.D.-D.M.A. Program in Music. “At a time when such positions are becoming rarer, and, furthermore, in a time when their availability has been further limited due to the pandemic, the magnitude of these accomplishments is highly noteworthy. These appointments reflect strongly on the musicianship and research skills of these two young scholars.”

Both Duguay and Torres stressed the importance of staying true to your own vision of your work, interests, and potential. “We sometimes feel like we might want to appear a certain way in applications, to try to perhaps change a bit what our research sounds like, to sound like what we feel is appealing to schools,” Duguay says. “Be honest about what your research is, who you are as a person, what you want to do, and I think that will show in the interview process.”

Torres-Rivera said that, given the odds in the academic job market, “I might as well embrace the particular way that I wanted to express my academic work and my public scholarship work. It sounds like a cliché, but in these times you really have to be authentic and not try to fit whatever model has been in place the last 30 years, because the world is changing, in academia as well.”