Department of Music
Dr. Robyn Swanson is a University Distinguished Professor of Music Education at Western Kentucky University. She serves as Coordinator of Music Education and Graduate Music Program Director and Advisor. Prior to her 29-year tenure at Western Kentucky University, she taught music education at Black Hills State University, Spearfish, South Dakota, Cherokee Public Schools, Cherokee, Iowa and Sterling Unit District #5, Sterling, Illinois. Swanson earned her Doctorate of Music Education from the University of Northern Colorado, Greeley, CO. (1986), a Master of Music from Mankato State University, Mankato, MN (1970) and a Bachelor of Music in Education and Vocal Performance from Simpson College, Indianola, IA (1968). Post-graduate studies include Kodaly Institute Certificate of Training, Kodaly Institute, Kecskemet, Hungary.
Dr. Swanson is an active researcher in Music-Curriculum-Instruction-Assessment for All Learners with numerous publications and presentations at the International, National, State, Regional and Local Levels. International presentations and trainings have been conducted in Brussels, Belgium; Hong Kong, Bologna, Italy; Kecskemet, Hungary and Taipei, Taiwan. From 2012-2014, she served as a writer on the National Core Arts Standards and chaired the development of the Middle School portion of the National Core Music Standards. In 2016, Swanson authored Evidence-based Practices for Music Instruction and Assessment for P-12 Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder and co-authored with Philip Shepherd, The Past, Present and Future of Kentucky Policies and Practices for Assessment in Music Education with publications pending in The Oxford Handbook of Assessment Policy & Practice in Music Education, Oxford University Press, New York. She has music assessment research studies published by GIA and has authored and served on numerous Kentucky Department of Education's (KDE) Arts and Humanities committees since 1990. In addition to publications, Dr. Swanson has conducted music education trainings throughout the nation and extensively across Kentucky.
Swanson has served as President of the Kentucky Music Educators Association (KMEA), Kentucky Alliance for Arts Education (KAAE) and VSA Kentucky. These state level leadership positions have resulted in service to the music education profession at the national and international levels.
In 2011, she was named a Western Kentucky University Distinguished Professor, a program designed to recognize faculty members who have served the University with distinction and have compiled an outstanding record of achievement in teaching, research, and service.
She is a member of numerous WKU university, college and department committees. Honors and Awards include:
2012: Robyn Swanson Legacy to Music Education Award created by the 3rd District Music Educators Association
2011: University Distinguished Professor (5 year appointment with emeritus status)
2011: WKU Kelly Autism Program Altoria Award: Highest award presented
2010: WKU Kelly Autism Program Faculty Contribution Award
2008: KMEA College/University Teacher of the Year
2008: WKU Faculty Fellow (4 selected from the WKU faculty)
2007: WKU Teaching Scholar
2006; WKU Potter College Award for Teaching
2006: Kentucky Colonel Award presented by Ernie Fletcher, Kentucky Arts Awards Luncheon, February 9, 2006
2005: Empire Who’s Who Registry of Executives and Professionals
2005: Kentucky Music Education Association (KMEA) Distinguished Leadership/Service Award: State-level award for the teaching and advancement of music education across the Commonwealth and nation. (Highest award, presented only upon meritorious achievement in music education.)
2004: Third District Music Educators Association (TDMEA) Citation for Service
2001: WKU Potter College Faculty Award for Public Service
2001: KMEA Citation for Service: State-level award for the advancement of music teaching across the Commonwealth.
1998: Recognized by President Bill Clinton at the National Awards in the Arts ceremony at the White House, Washington, DC for outstanding contributions to Kentucky Arts Education (November)
Professional Memberships include Phi Delta Kappa, Pi Kappa Lambda, Mu Phi Epsilon, International Society for Music Education, National Association for Music Education, Kentucky Music Educators Association and Third District Music Educators Association.