As she enters her last year before retirement from UNCG, Dr. Sue Stinson, a professor of dance, is interim dean of the UNCG School of Music, Theatre and Dance (SMTD). Her term began July 1.
Her goals for the 2012-13 academic year, Provost Perrin has noted, include the following:
- To lay groundwork that will prepare the School of Music, Theatre and Dance for exciting change under a new permanent dean
- To facilitate progress towards development of identity as a school, beyond being a collection of strong departments
- To encourage the generation of possibilities for how the SMTD can become more central in the life and mission of the university
She joined the UNCG Dance faculty in 1979. How had her work in dance begun? As a sociology major in college, she took some dance classes on the side. And she tutored students at a housing complex. “I wanted to make a difference in kids’ lives.” She took them to dance performances and led them in creative movement experiences, trying to provide new experiences and expand their vocabularies. She found that she loved teaching so went on to earn a masters’ in dance education. When her second child was 10 days old, she interviewed for a faculty position at UNCG. She got it.
Stinson served as the head of the Dance department from 1993-2002 and as undergraduate coordinator from 2002-12. She notes that “any successes I’ve achieved have been in colleagueship with others.”
Reflecting on the Dance Department’s mission over the years, she points out its high-quality training, teacher preparation, excellent academic courses and outstanding creative opportunities.
The department has consistently avoided trying to turn out a standardized product, recognizing that students enter with unique talents and aspirations, she says, and the dance world needs many different kinds of people.
A degree in dance is preparation for life, she explains, not just for work in dance. The successful dance student develops both critical and creative thinking, as well as a sense of teamwork and conscious awareness–skills needed by the world, not just the dance field.
Making a difference in students’ lives has been important throughout her career. Over her years at UNCG, she has deeply valued her relationships with students and helping them pursue their own dreams.
Publishing is another way of leaving an impact, she says. She’d just returned from the 30th annual Dance and the Child International Conference in Taiwan. Its retrospective anthology stated, “Sue’s output has been enormous, her research path visionary, her scholarly approach impeccable, and her influence on other researchers in the field of dance education unparalleled.”
She will be receiving two honors this fall. In October, she will receive the National Dance Education Organization’s 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award. The award “recognizes her commitment to advancing the field of dance education in addition to her many contributions to dance around the world.”
In November, she will receive the Outstanding Scholarly Research Award given by the Congress on Research in Dance. It honors an exceptional scholar or leader for sustained contributions to dance research.
Looking forward to her retirement in July 2013, she hopes to make a difference beyond the university and beyond the arts by becoming more involved in community-based service – “to help make the world a better place on the community level.”
By Mike Harris