A Sampling of Selection Criteria Addressed for an Academic Job Position
Christopher Fulkerson

October 2009

An overseas university asked for the following form to be filled out as part of their application process. The position was for a mid-level professorship involving duties at all levels of a Conservatory curriculum; community involvement was stressed; specific duties may be gleaned from the text. Many other questions could be asked and addressed; I have left the form as I filled it out, except that I have removed reference to the university in question.   Persons interested in any aspect of any item addressed here, or anything else not addressed here, are welcome to contact me at Christopher@ChristopherFulkerson.com.

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Duties

1. Coordinate the performance studies program at (the University).
    I have coordinated as many as a dozen and more full programs in a year.   At one point this included coordinating both performance, administrational and multiple recording schedules for my avant garde vocal ensemble Ariel, together with forming, scheduling and rehearsing the Berkeley Opera Chorus, all while working full time teaching and conducting church choirs.   I created a full Wagnerian orchestra for the SF Lyric Opera full production performances of SIEGFRIED. 

2. Teach music to different cohorts of students including both internal (on-campus) and external (online).
    I have worked in every possible teaching situation.   I have eight years of experience teaching at the SF Girls Chorus, for which I wrote a three volume textbook, thirty years experience working with amateur choirs, several years teaching Music Appreciation to amateur adults, and have even made a CD with amateurs at Saint Gregory’s Church.    I have taught six-year olds to read music and ninety-year olds to sing.    I have taught professionals to record avant garde music and amateurs to record their church music.    I have regularly led folk-rock groups for the Episcopal Church in San Francisco.
    As early as the 1990s I mentored for the Washington State Schools via mail correspondence.    This was before online correspondence was even prevalent.    I have no doubt I will adapt to this teaching venue.    I have taken some correspondence courses myself and am familiar with its parameters.    I have begun editing for Wikipedia, which though not the best research forum at least gives me an idea of what’s going on there.

3. Contribute to music-making and musical practice in the community.
My community work includes work with the SF Lyric Opera, where I conducted SIEGFRIED, CARMEN, and other works, and my work with the Berkeley Opera Chorus meant forming a new chorus three years running.  

4. Maintain a record of creative practice in relevant fields of specialization.
I have continued to write an average of two new works per year for most of my career.   This includes the 83-minute theater piece A MIRACLE OF RARE DEVICE and, in 2008, a new work for orchestra.    Since the international scene for contemporary music is not in good health, I have taken the cue that electronic media should be used to bridge the gap, and have begun a comprehensive website presentation of my career.   This includes the presentation of what might be a new medium, the on-line interactive musical program, of which the first example is available on my website at http://www.christopherfulkerson.com/firstviewsofthefestival.html

5. Contribute to supervision at the HDR level.
I have done lots of research, and lots of prose writing, so I am familiar with what is involved in presenting ideas.    I haven’t supervised anybody’s thesis yet, but I’m sure I can do this.   

6. Undertake administrative duties at the Discipline, School and Faculty levels as required.
While on faculty at various jobs I never missed a meeting.    As the sole administrator of Ariel, a Contemporary Vocal Ensemble, I have performed every administrative function necessary to the operation of Ariel for the several years of its existence.

7. Seek external funding for research or other projects as appropriate to the position.
In this wise I have worked successfully with other musical, dance, and arts organizations and persons on an in-kind basis.   I have enough experience to know that miracle can only be performed to the extent there is a generous community.    If there is a good fundraising mechanism in place I feel sure I can succeed with raising cash as well.   

 

Selection Criteria

Essential Criteria

1. A PhD or other doctoral qualification in Music.   
My Ph.D. is from the main campus of University of California, at Berkeley.    While still only a Master’s Degree candidate I became the only person ever to win a Grand Prize in musical composition from the entire UC system, in a competition judged by outside judges.   

2. Outstanding skills as a performer and/or conductor.
This may be judged from my repertoire and recording list.    I can say that the local Wagner Society believes I am the only person not affiliated with a major opera house to ever conduct SIEGFRIED in Northern California.    This was a stupendous undertaking with some roles triple-cast, and I trained every singer and player myself, at the piano or with my baton.    I know of only one full book of truly modern unaccompanied madrigals, and I recorded it for Opus One Records.     I have released several vinyl and disc collections, and have several more in production.

3. Knowledge of a wide range of musical styles within the Western art music tradition and either Jazz or Contemporary popular music traditions.
I would be interested to learn of any other musician who can both conduct Wagner and play Eric Clapton.
What I don’t know about music I am able to very quickly find, and I have above average skills at musical puzzle solving.   For example, a number of writers have remarked that Schoenberg’s Third Quartet seems quite Beethovenian.   I have shown that it actually cribs the Beethoven Opus 59 #1.   I have lectured on the use that Thomas Tallis made of the points of the compass in Spem in alium, and how geography is coordinated with textual meaning in that piece.   At UCLA I lectured on my theory of Adjunct Pitches in supposedly atonal music, and at Westminster Choir College I spoke on Pre-performance preparation for Tension in Performance.    With regard to popular music, I started out playing Rock in garage bands, and recently have returned to playing lead electric guitar, and am so far able to acquit myself of solos by Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix.    I have begun including more new Rock-type pieces in my catalogue.     I have not actually formed a new Rock band yet, but I am open to the idea.

4. Demonstrated ability to coordinate a performance studies program at tertiary level.
My academic teaching has been of theory-oriented subjects, but, again, Ariel was a professional group, made up of the very best local singers, many of whom came from local conservatories to sing with me, since they could not get experience singing avant-garde vocal music at the University level.  

5. Demonstrated ability to contribute to at least two of the following areas of study: musicology, composition, aural training, theory, music technology.
My catalogue of principal works now lists 53 pieces, and I have written in other styles as well.   I have designed and taught a musicianship program for the SF Girls Chorus.    I have taught music appreciation in a Music History format dozens of times.   I studied Music Criticism with Joseph Kerman and was the only graduate composer invited to address the UCB Camerata.   I maintain an active interest in certain musicological questions, especially as they relate to composition, for example my reading of the Tallis Spem in alium.

6. Appropriate track record of relevant research and/or creative practice in music.
Please see my lists of composition, and of writings on music.  

7. Demonstrated ability to supervise Honors and higher-degree research students.
The mentoring I have done has been at the High School level, but I believe this is well within my capabilities.   

8. Demonstrated ability to teach in an online environment.
As I have indicated elsewhere, I have some limited experience mentoring students, and am open to learning more about online instruction.

9. A successful record of creative practice in music.
Again, I refer you to my catalogue of works and performances.

10. Demonstrated awareness of relevant external funding opportunities.
I raised money for Ariel for several years.    I have also participated in fundraising efforts for all other non-profit organizations I have worked for.   For the last twenty years I have concentrated on composition and performance with other people’s groups, and less on running my own organizations.    For myself personally I have raised about $35,000 over the last twenty years, mostly in repeated grants from the Grateful Dead and the late Ruth C. Jacobs.

11. Demonstrated ability to communicate effectively and work productively as a team member.
This may be assessed from my writings, for example, whether these replies are readable; with regard to my ability to work as a team member, I don’t know how this may be demonstrated; I refer you to the letters posted on my website.    There seems to be a consensus that I work well with groups that I do what I want… I believe there has never been a complaint about my collegiality.

12. A demonstrated ability to undertake administrative duties at discipline, school and faculty levels.
This point has already been addressed.

13. A willingness to participate in annual performance planning and review.
I love production and enjoy regular involvement in it.    Reviews of work are necessary to improving its quality.

14. Commitment to EEO and OH&S principles as they relate to this position.
While at Ariel I never hesitated to hire according to skill rather than background.    While at the Girls Chorus I worked well with students and faculty of all orientations. I have lived for many years in the Greater Bay Area, one of the most diverse populations in the world, and know well how to relate to any sane person I meet, and even some people of questionable sanity.   On the score of OH&S, I may say that at the Girls Chorus I had to be very aware of a wide variety of physical and psychological issues, including parental preferences in the Girls’ training.    Working extensively with singers has meant I have learned the value of keeping people physically and emotionally comfortable in their work.   

 

 Desirable Criteria

1. Ability to contribute to music-making in the community.
This has been covered in discussions of my work in semi-professional opera houses and church groups.

2. Awareness of the unique requirements of music-making in a non-metropolitan environment.
My first experiences with teaching and community programs were in Stockton, California, an environment more rural than urban.

3. Experience in directing large or small ensembles.
I think SIEGFRIED counts as a large ensemble.    It even has a dragon in it.    I’ve done four other operas, and lots of smaller things.

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Last Updated 11/28/2009