Photo of James McGowan

James McGowan

James McGowan, a professor of music theory and composition, won a 2013 New Faculty Excellence in Teaching Award for his work on a pedagogical application to improve music skills.

The app, which is an online ear training software, allows students anywhere to build onto their learning by embracing different musical styles and creating levels that fit with current curriculum.

In the classroom, James diverges from his virtual teaching expertise and focuses on a one-on-one approach with his students to hone their musical talent.

Calling teaching “one of the most critical jobs I have,” he stresses that his classes are a place for students to discover their passion for music in a supportive environment. As a music theorist, pianist and composer, James manages to effortlessly instill the same commitment and passion he has for music in his students.

In 2020, James was appointed the Carleton University Chair in Teaching Innovation. With this award, he plans to create and support a network of like-minded instructors, students and staff using the principles of Performative Learning and Artistic Communities of Engagement (PLACE). The network will identify opportunities for performative learning, exploring experiential arts-based approaches to engage students in a variety of disciplines, and create artistic communities of engagement that allow students to find means of expression beyond course work.