December 2, 2022
Ithaca, NY | 39°F


College announces new music dean selection

Ithaca College announced Monday that Karl Paulnack, director of the Music Division at The Boston Conservatory, has been selected to be the new dean of the School of Music.

The announcement ends a six month-long search for a new dean, after Greg Woodward vacated the post last year to become president of Carthage College. The current interim dean is Craig Cummings.

Paulnack, who was on the music faculty for the college for 12 years from 1986 to 1998, will begin the position July 1. Music-School-Dean-Mug

John Sigg, associate dean of the School of Health Sciences and Human Performance and head of the search committee, said there was a very rich pool of candidates, and he said he thinks the committee provided an “excellent candidates for the School of Music.” Sigg said he expects that Paulnack will bring new ideas and insight to the school.

“He is from The Boston Conservatory, so he’ll bring a little different look to Ithaca College,” Sigg said. “Yet, as a former employee, he understands what’s important to the School of Music and to the education programs of the School of Music.”

Paulnack said he learned he was selected Feb. 15. He also said, despite being a previous faculty member, he will have to reintegrate into the college.

“I was a faculty member there a number of years ago, so I certainly am not a stranger to Ithaca,” Paulnack said. “But what Ithaca is today — right now, at this moment — I will need to learn about.”

Three candidates for the position visited the college over a two-week period and shared their views on issues facing music education. The search for a new dean for the School of Music began in August and was facilitated by a committee of people from across campus. The final hiring decision was made by Marisa Kelly, provost and vice president for educational affairs, with input from the search committee. 

During his presentation on campus Feb. 7, Paulnack said he was concerned about the fractionation of music that is happening across the country. Paulnack also said there is a need for more collaboration between the college’s schools.

Paulnack said he looks forward to rejoining the Ithaca College community in his new position.

“The beginning of a position like that is a really beautiful moment of coming into a community, getting to know a community, getting to know faculty and the students and learning the values of the community and the history and the tradition,” Paulnack said.

Lawrence Doebler, professor of music performance, has been at the college for 35 years. He said he is happy to see Paulnack return to the music faculty.

“He was the perfect colleague, but he’s gone out and seen the world since then and gained experience as an administrator, as a public speaker,” Doebler said. “I think he has fantastic ideas that I hope will be realized.”

Janet Galvan, professor of music education, said Paulnack is a great leader and an incredible musician. She said she is looking forward to him beginning the position.

“Karl is a very inspirational speaker,” Galvan said. “He is also a very deep thinker, and he thinks about music in context of the world.”

She said she hopes Paulnack will see areas where the music school can take better advantage of the strong faculty at the school.

Paulnack said there were many things he was looking forward about being dean of the school of music.

“I am looking forward to the newness of spending time with each other and finding out who is in this community right now and who do they value and what are they passionate about and how are we going to put our lives together,” he said.

Paulnack also said leaving the college in 1998 has given him the different experiences that he needed. However, he said the city of Ithaca and the college had remained with him throughout.

“Since Ithaca, I have lived in Minneapolis, and I have lived in Manhattan, and I have lived in Boston,” Paulnack said. “The more places I have lived, the more Ithaca continues to come to mind as this very, very special place.”