When nominating Dr. Nicholle Andrews for the Mortar Board’s highest faculty honor, Adrian Laufer ’17 described the U of R director of choral activities as a “fearless leader,” “role model,” and one who “shapes musicians and people.”
That speech hit the right note with the honor society. On March 21, the students of the Mortar Board presented Andrews as the College of Arts & Sciences 2017 Professor of the Year at a President’s High Table. The win, which left Andrews “in disbelief,” came after three nominations, each of which she considered an honor, as she was surrounded by “such distinguished scholars and pedagogues.”
Laufer, who studied with Andrews throughout her academic career at Redlands, hailed her as not a “normal” professor but instead one who goes out of her way to help students succeed. “Many choirs stand there and sing, but she expects more from us — she expects us to interpret emotions and communicate with our audience.”
Andrews said her goal as an educator is to identify the capabilities and learning styles of each student and to assist in their development as musicians. “I believe that it is important that students learn through discovery, by exploring, initially familiar, and subsequently unfamiliar, resources. I believe that I encourage students by challenging them.”
In November 2015, under her direction, the U of R Chapel Singers was one of only nine top university choirs performing at the Sixth National Collegiate Choral Organization (NCCO) National Convention. In January 2016, the Chapel Singers performed the work of Disney songwriter Richard Sherman during a one-night-only engagement at the University, and in February 2016 performed with top choral and instrumental students in the state at the California All-State Music Educators Conference (CASMEC).
Andrews is the director of the U of R’s annual holiday tradition, The Feast of Lights. She created the U of R Youth Choir as a training program for children and is currently training as a body mapping clinician.
She started her career at Redlands in September 2006 and believes it is the best of both worlds. “We may be a small liberal arts college, but we are researching competing and performing at a national and international level.” She earned dual bachelor’s degrees in music and music education from Memorial University of Newfoundland and a master’s degree and doctorate in choral conducting from McGill University.
Other faculty nominated:
•Dr. Graeme Auton—Fulbright scholar, political science
•Dr. Hillary Jenkins—research of tree rings and extreme drought
•Dr. Bryce Ryan—research establishing a mouse model of autistic-like behavior.
•Dr. David Schrum—research of capillary electrophoresis
•Dr. Greg Thorson—research in public policy
Mortar Board is a national honor society established in 1918 to recognize college seniors for excellence in the areas of scholarship, leadership and service. Since 1959, the society annually honors a faculty member as professor of the year.