Program: Instructor, Arts & Sciences Division, Music
Education/Industry Certifications: Bachelor of Music from the University of Wyoming; Master of Music from the University of Wyoming; Doctor of Musical Arts from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln; Doctor of Music from the American Conservatory of Music; Fulbright Scholar to Vienna, Austria.
Has taught at SCC since: 2009
Years of Work Experience Outside SCC: 20: Owner and studio director of Hoppmann Piano Studio, Lincoln, NE (1989-2009); 10 years of adjunct teaching (1989-1999) at Doane College, Southeast Community College (Lincoln), and Concordia University (Seward); three years, Director of Music Ministries, Sheridan Lutheran Church, Lincoln (1999-2002); five years, Associate Professor of Music, Union College, Lincoln (2002-2007); one year, Director of Operations, Superior Estates Winery (2008).
Describe your teaching philosophy.
Education involves so much more than training. It is an opportunity for students to explore new areas of interest and deepen their understanding of who they are as human beings. My job as an educator is to provide opportunities for students to connect with greatness: great books, great music, great art, great ideas. Through contact with the great and profound, students are challenged to develop a sense of who they are and what their place is in this world. Education involves exploration and a journey of self-awareness. In many ways, I have the honor to serve as their tour guide.
Why did you decide to teach at a community college?
I believe very strongly in the mission of community colleges. Often, students come to us when they are unsure of their goals and may not yet have a sense of their incredible potential. We have the privilege of helping students uncover their abilities and gain a glimpse of who they can become. It’s a true joy to help students navigate their way in the world.
What can prospective students expect when they enroll in your program?
The Humanities are a vital part of the Academic Transfer program. When students enter this program, they can expect a well-rounded experience in the liberal arts. They will experience new ideas and learn how to interact with those ideas. As they read and consider new ideas and information, they will learn to use writing to help them clarify their thoughts. Students in the Humanities always are asked to make connections and think outside the box. They will encounter the most important and greatest artistic achievements of all time and learn why those pieces of art and music, or novels and plays, still matter to us today. Students in the Humanities learn how to deepen and enrich their human experience, which will serve them well in any field they choose to pursue.
What experiences outside of SCC do you bring to the classroom/laboratory that enhance student learning?
I’m fortunate to have had some incredible educational opportunities in my life. My first piano teacher grew up in Vienna, Austria, and had lived all over the world before settling in our Wyoming community. As a young student of his, I had the opportunity to hear first-hand accounts of life beyond our borders. He taught me to play the piano, of course, but I also learned about the great composers, writers and artists who created masterpieces for us to appreciate. I developed a love of the German language and set my sights on studying in Vienna “someday.” This shows the importance of teachers planting seeds in their students’ lives. This particular seed grew and flourished as I, a first-generation college student from a small Wyoming town, was named a Fulbright Scholar to study in Vienna many years later. In addition to my teaching, I stay active as a concert pianist and arts presenter. My concert activities have centered on collaborations with musicians from Iran, Italy and Ghana, as well as fellow American musicians. I maintain an interest in music from around the world and am happy to share my personal experiences with my students.
What advice do you have for students pursuing a degree in your program?
Be curious and take responsibility for your own education. Go beyond what your instructors ask of you. Read, read, read. Don’t just stop at learning new facts, but always make connections between your various areas of study. Enjoy learning, but realize that it takes hard work. Be willing to put in the hours and give your best efforts to your studies.
What do you enjoy most about working with students?
I enjoy the “aha moments” when a student finally understands something that was once confusing. I enjoy watching and helping as students become more aware of the world around them and as they put their own human existence into perspective. I enjoy helping students think deeper and wrestle with the big questions of the Humanities.
What is the best part about being an SCC faculty member?
Working every day with our students and my sincere and talented faculty colleagues.
What has been your proudest moment as an instructor?
Moments of pride happen each and every day, so it’s hard to write about only one. However, last fall I asked my World Music class to focus on one area of medical ethnomusicology and give a class presentation for our Global Education program. Even though it was outside of their comfort zone and dealt with some very unfamiliar material, they came together and gave so much of themselves. I was proud of them each time they practiced and revised the material. They demonstrated a commitment to each other, to the material and to the scholarly activity in which they were engaged. The presentation went very well, and I sensed that they, too, were quite proud of their accomplishment.
What do you like to do when you’re not teaching?
When I’m not teaching I usually find myself reading, practicing, working in the yard, or just spending time with my family and friends. 10. What would students be surprised to know about you? My students and colleagues alike are often surprised to learn that I used to work in the wine industry. Before starting at SCC, I had a wonderful opportunity to manage a winery, which included involvement in viticulture, winemaking, sales and marketing, and hospitality.
Is there anything you’d like to add?
My last words are an invitation to come study at SCC! We have a wonderful student body, extraordinarily accomplished faculty and a dedicated and supportive administration. We hope to have the opportunity to work with you soon!