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Victoria Malawey

Lieber Memorial Teaching Associate Award -- Founders Day 2005

Doctoral Student in Music
School of Music
Indiana University Bloomington
B.M., Chicago Musical College of Roosevelt University, 1999
M.M., Indiana University, 2001

Malaw, Victoria L.
Victoria Malawey
Print-Quality Photo

Certain words tend to recur in Victoria Malawey's end-of-semester evaluations. Enthusiastic. Dedicated. Organized. Inspirational. Or, as one student put it, "She works magic."

An associate instructor at Indiana University Bloomington's School of Music, Malawey's passion for music theory is contagious -- even in those courses that some students approach more with dread than anticipation. During the two years of her master's degree and three years of doctoral study at IU, Malawey has taught skills courses including ear training, sight singing, and advanced chromatic ear training.

"I have found that some music students believe music theory is too abstract and [that it] consequently lacks meaning in their lives as performers or composers," Malawey says. "I strive to show that music theory enhances the listening experience and makes learning music more efficient and productive."

Her techniques include contextual listening activities (sometimes involving popular music), and student performances for in-class analysis, as well as a series of exercises that "maintain a balance between the abstract and the concrete." She also makes a point of learning her students' names and developing personal connections, to make each individual feel like an important part of the class.

Malawey's enthusiasm can melt the heart of even the most skeptical pupil. In an e-mail to her at the end of the 2001 spring semester, Ching Yi Lin wrote: "You have been so much help these last few horrible weeks. I thought for sure your high energy was going to drive me up the wall at the beginning (cuz you were just Toooo happy!) but it really lifted up my spirits! (I'm not going to get in trouble for telling you this, right?) I think you will make a great professor."

Malawey wouldn't ask more from her students than she gave when she was in their shoes. After earning a perfect 4.0 GPA as an undergraduate student at Chicago Musical College of Roosevelt University, Malawey went on to earn a 4.0 for her master's degree. As a doctoral student, she maintains a 4.0 GPA. And while being organized is imperative to Malawey's courses, "I am not afraid to explore and deviate constructively through the journey," she says. "Sometimes the best learning experiences occur when we create multiple paths to get to our destination."

Despite her consistently positive feedback from peers, superiors, and student evaluations, Malawey seeks out critiques in order to keep improving. At the outset of her coordinator position at IU, Malawey asked Associate Dean Mary Wennerstrom for regular class evaluations. "Victoria has functioned in our department not just as an associate instructor but as a faculty member who takes her teaching very seriously," says Wennerstrom. She is excellent and committed, and informs her pedagogical methods by a broad range of recent scholarship."

Malawey is an active composer and theorist, and co-editor of the Indiana Theory Review, a student-produced, nationally circulated journal that has taken on new life with her involvement. Her papers at academic conferences have been well-received, including "Cover Emulation to 'A Simple Desultory Philippic': Paul Simon's Use of Bob Dylan's Music."

At the end of the day, it's the joy of learning and making knowledge accessible for students that motivates Malawey. "Above all, I am committed to improvement and change throughout my teaching career, and I take pride in putting my teaching philosophy into action every day I tea