Donna Brink Fox
Eisenhart Professor Emerita of Music Education
Donna Brink Fox served as Senior Associate Dean of Academic and Student Affairs at the Eastman School of Music, University of Rochester, in Rochester, New York until her retirement in December 2022. Dr. Fox held a faculty appointment in Music Teaching and Learning since 1984 and was named Eisenhart Professor of Music Education in 1998, the first endowed professor to be named at the Eastman School. She earned a PhD in Music Education from The Ohio State University (1982); MM in Music from Ohio University (1975); and BA in Music from Calvin College (1972). Additional study includes Harvard’s Management Development Program (1996) and a semester as Provost’s Bridging Fellow in the Simon School of Business at the University of Rochester (2006). Her previous collegiate teaching includes Illinois State University (1980-1984) and Ohio University (1975-1976).
As Senior Associate Dean of Academic and Student Affairs, Dr. Fox was responsible for faculty affairs, including promotion and tenure reviews, annual activity reports, and hiring of part-time faculty. She supervised the Student Affairs program areas of Residential Life and Student Activities, along with the Eastman Writing Center and Summer Session. Dr. Fox chaired the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee and the Professional Development Committee and coordinated the Advanced Certificate in Community/Collegiate Music Teaching. She has served on the Faculty Senate of the University of Rochester, including a term as Chair of the Executive Committee; and was co-chair of the University’s 2014 re-accreditation review by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Dr. Fox has taught undergraduate and graduate classes in music education, served as the doctoral academic advisor in music education, and advised the research projects of doctoral and master’s students, including 26 dissertations. As department chair she created the FORTE program for double majors and dual degree students in music education, which supports a 9th semester, tuition-free, for full-time student teaching. She founded the summer Orff Schulwerk Teacher Education course in 1992 and served as the director for 28 years. At the request of the Dean on her arrival at Eastman, Dr. Fox designed an early music childhood music program for the Eastman Community Music School, and she continued as the Director of this program through its 38rd program year in 2022.
Donna Brink Fox is an international authority in the field of early childhood music education. Based on her practice and research, she has given presentations and clinics around the world, including Australia, Hungary, Austria, Denmark, Finland, Spain, China, Canada, Taiwan, and Cyprus. She has been appointed visiting faculty at Sydney Conservatorium in Australia and Shenyang Conservatory in China and was appointed in 2015 as Global Academic Advisor for the Cyprus Centre of Research and Study in Music Education. Former students are teaching in Australia, Brazil, China, Taiwan, Malaysia, and Cyprus, as well as throughout the United States.
Dr. Fox has written articles for a variety of music education publications, including the Music Educators Journal, Journal of Research in Music Education, and the Orff Echo. She co-authored a three-volume curriculum for teaching music in early childhood classrooms, Classroom Music for Little Mozarts (published by Alfred); the first volume in this series received a Parents’ Choice Award. She has received grants from the Music Educators National Conference, the Paul Foundation, the American Orff-Schulwerk Association, Texaco Foundation, and the New York Council on the Arts for research and program models related to early childhood music education and music teacher education. Dr. Fox has served as a consultant on educational programs to organizations such as the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Carnegie Hall Kids, and the Naples Philharmonic.
A founding member of the Early Childhood Special Research Interest Group (SRIG) of the National Association for Music Education in 1979, Dr. Fox has provided continuing leadership service to national professional organizations. She was Eastern Division representative to the Music Education Research Council, the executive committee of the Society for Research in Music Education of NAfME, from 2006 to 2012. She has been a member of the Research Committee of the New York State School Music Association, the Advisory Board of the Early Childhood Music and Movement Association, and the Development Committee of the American Orff-Schulwerk Association. She has served on the editorial boards and committees of the e-journal for the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) the journal Psychomusicology, and the e-journal New Directions in Music Education.
Dr. Fox received Eastman’s Eisenhart Distinguished Teaching Award in 1996. Her Rochester community honors include the Richard Snook Memorial Award from the Monroe County School Music Association (2004) and the Outstanding Music Educator Award from the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra (2007). She is a member of the Phi Kappa Phi honor society and Pi Kappa Lambda music honorary society and was named Musician of the Year by the local alumni chapter of the music fraternity Mu Phi Epsilon. Dr. Fox has received outstanding alumni awards from the School of Music and the College of Fine Arts at Ohio University and in 2010 received the Distinguished Alumni Award from the School of Music at The Ohio State University. In 2016 Dr. Fox was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Susan B. Anthony Center at the University of Rochester. In 2021 the Early Childhood Music and Movement Association, an international professional organization, inducted Dr. Fox into their Hall of Honor in recognition of her contributions to early childhood music teaching, learning, and research.
Dr. Fox served for 9 years as department chair along with 3 years as director of Summer Session before moving to positions in Eastman School-level administration. She has contributed to meetings of the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM) by organizing daylong conference sessions for other Associate and Assistant Deans, and she has presented several times at the Eastman Leadership Conference on topics of relationships between faculty and administration. During her tenure as the Senior Associate Dean at the Eastman School, she developed program models for student support and sponsored a mentoring program for new faculty members. She was a member of the original team that proposed the Eastman Performing Arts Medicine program, a collaboration between Eastman and the University of Rochester’s Medical Center.