UW Music Professor Rod Garnett Honored for Internationalization Work
May 6, 2008 — For international students and visitors to the University of Wyoming, Rod Garnett's home is a sort of foreign embassy.
"Holiday dinners at his home can resemble dinners at the United Nations," says Jenny Ingram of the Laramie based Wyoming Humanities Council.
Garnett's efforts to bridge cultural and language barriers, particularly through music, a tie that truly binds together all peoples, have earned him the 2008 Faculty Award for Internationalization. The award was established in 2001 by the UW International Board of Advisers to recognize excellence in promoting international activities at the university.
A faculty member in the Department of Music since 1990, Garnett has traveled across the world from New Zealand to Japan, Ireland to Peru to gain insight into other cultures and help develop his own teaching curriculum.
During that time, says Oliver Walter, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Garnett has cemented a reputation as "one of our very best teachers."
Garnett founded UW's World Music Series, an annual showcase of musical sounds from around the world, and is the "backbone" of the university's Gamelan group, says Oana Ivan, a UW student from Romania.
"His students, collaborators and colleagues know more about the world and its music because of Rod," adds Ivan.
One of his former students, Aura Newlin (Riverton), was named to USA Today's All USA Academic First Team in 2005. Under Garnett's supervision, Newlin developed a self designed major in ethomusicology and her research spurred the creation of a panpipe ensemble at UW.
In addition to his work in the classroom, Garnett has taken UW students to Indonesia, New Zealand and Slovakia to study and play music. He has also coordinated cultural exchange programs with schools in those three countries.
"I believe that he has worked very happily and effectively to introduce international heritages to the society of the UW," says Soonja Cho, director of the Gagok Inheritance Center in Korea. Cho and Garnett worked together last year to organize a traditional Korean music concert at UW.
Adds Ingram, "I can think of no one more deserving of the award. Rod realizes that our small town is international, and that the UW and Laramie communities are interested in other cultures. He has been able to make the most of these points, especially in the area of music, which has the capability to cross cultures and boundaries."
Garnett earned his B.A. in music education (1975) and his M.A. in music (1986) from the University of Colorado at Boulder. He is currently a Ph.D. student in UW's Department of Anthropology.