Converse recognized for leadership in performance, teaching

conversePULLMAN, Wash. – Sheila Kearney Converse, clinical associate professor of music, is the winner of the 2014-15 Samuel H. Smith Leadership Award from the Washington State University Association for Faculty Women (AFW).

She will be acknowledged during the Celebrating Excellence Recognition Banquet on March 27, part of WSU’s annual Showcase celebration of faculty, staff and student excellence. Showcase reservations are being accepted at through Wednesday, March 18.

The award recognizes “an AFW member whose leadership has advanced the role of women in the WSU system and/or who has demonstrated leadership in higher education, the community or her profession at the local, state, regional, national or international level.” It was established in 2000 to show AFW’s appreciation to former President Smith for his leadership in advancing the role of women at WSU.

Converse’s current scholarly activities focus on research about women in music. She teaches courses in studio voice, vocal pedagogy, women and music and a “Domain of the Arts” seminar in the Honors College. Before joining the faculty at WSU, she taught at the University of Idaho in Moscow, Idaho, and at Centre College in Danville, Ky.

She has appeared with the New Jersey Opera Young Artist’s Quartet, the Long Beach Grand Opera, the Opera of Central Kentucky and Washington Opera East. Among the roles Converse has sung are Carmen in “Carmen,” Dorabella in “Cosi Fan Tutte,” Marthe in “Faust,” the mother in “Amahl and the Night Visitors,” Hansel in “Hansel and Gretel,” Augusta in “The Ballad of Baby Doe” and the Principessa in “Suor Angelica.”

An active recitalist, she has performed at WSU and UI, in a duet recital with WSU faculty colleague Julie Wieck, in a recital of music by women and in a lecture recital on the songs of Nadia Boulanger.

She received the WSU Distinguished Teaching Award, the Honors College Outstanding Teacher Award and the 2013 College of Arts and Sciences Award for Excellence in Teaching by a Clinical Faculty Member.

Her leadership roles have included president, treasurer and program chair of AFW. She serves as executive secretary for the WSU Faculty Senate.

In addition to the March 27 banquet, WSU Showcase includes the Distinguished Faculty Address (March 26); the Academic Showcase display of faculty, staff and student work (March 27); and SURCA, the Showcase for Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities (March 30).