Teaching Philosophy

Tim Cordell

Tim Cordell, Professor Emeritus at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania and recent Adjunct Professor at Queens University of Charlotte, has an undergraduate degree from East Carolina University and two graduate degrees from Catholic University of America. While teaching at Edinboro University, he completed the Ph.D. in Musicology with a specialty in the orchestration of the operas of the Italian master, Giuseppe Verdi. His focus during the five years of dissertation research was on primary source material at the American Institute for Verdi Studies in New York and in two Italian cities, in Venice at the library of the famous opera house, Teatro la Fenice and in Milan in the archive of Casa Ricordi, the location of the composer's valuable manuscripts.

While La Fenice is a world away from the hometown of Dr. Cordell, it was in Greenville, South Carolina where his journey began. He was the first in his family to attend college, and the second son to enlist in the military, a Vietnam-era veteran with military service in the Washington, D.C. area and in Fulda, Germany. The military experience in Germany and a trip to Italy to perform with an Italian band—a first trip to Italy—changed his life and academic goals, and would eventually influence him to research things Italian and to establish study abroad programs to give college students the opportunity to experience other cultures on-site at considerable distances from home.

He was Edinboro University's first "Technology Scholar" and the recipient of numerous grants and awards for his innovative use of technology in teaching. His interest in technology corresponded with the early years of the World Wide Web and the new uses of multimedia in teaching. As luck would have it, his expertise would be shared on the same stage with world leaders in technology at conferences in Europe, the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Conference on Hypertext and Hypermedia in Milan, Italy in 1992, and two years later at the ACM conference in Edinburgh, Scotland—his first trip to Edinburgh. Other conference presentations, including one at Internet World and another at the Tenth International Conference on College Teaching and Learning would establish him at the forefront of the new technology. In 1995, a class at Edinboro called "Opera" was believed by many to be the first music class in the world to use the web to publish class work, including student research. Dr. Cordell was invited to document that class in a journal called Musicus, a publication supported by the Higher Education Council of England and a similar council in Scotland.

Dr. Cordell's first trip to Edinburgh in 1994 would be the beginning of his quest to establish a study abroad program in that city, Edinboro's namesake city. After several unsuccessful attempts, Edinboro @ Edinburgh became a reality in 1997 when Dr. Brian Zimmerman of the Geosciences Department joined Dr. Cordell and twenty-two students for two weeks in Scotland. A Scottish newspaper, the Sunday Mail reported: "A group of 22 students from Edinboro jetted in to study some real Scots, as well as music and geolog...these lads are committed to all things Scottish." That initial study abroad program served as the model for Dr. Cordell's successful proposal to the honors directors of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education for selection as the Summer Honors Program for the year 2000. For that summer program, Edinboro professors from history, philosophy, music, political science, geosciences, geography, art, and English taught an interdisciplinary course in Edinboro and Edinburgh on the Scottish Enlightenment as developed by Edinboro Political Science professor, Dr. Robert Rhodes. During that thought-provoking trip, the Edinboro contingent of 51 people had an audience with His Royal Highness Prince Phillip. The Scottish newspaper The Herald reported: "Bursts of laughter from the adjacent salon prove that the Duke of Edinburgh has lost none of his talent for witty speechifying. The scene is the Palace of Holyroodhouse, Edinburgh, this week; his audience, students from Edinboro (yes, really), Pennsylvania."

In his 35 years at Edinboro University, Dr. Cordell himself had many audiences. As a trumpet player, an orchestra director and a band director, thousands of people enjoyed his performances and/or performances by his students, some in operas conducted by him. Honors and awards came his way as well, including selection by Pennsylvania band directors for membership in Phi Beta Mu, the International Bandmasters Fraternity; the Orpheus Award from Phi Mu Alpha for "Significant and Lasting Contributions to Music in America;" and the Innovative Excellence in Teaching and Learning Award; and certainly the honor to serve as the Grand Marshal for the 2012 Spring Commencement at Edinboro University. Dr. Cordell also received several research grants, including a grant by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) for research at the Verdi Institute at New York University and another NEH grant with renowned Renaissance scholars at Northwestern University.

In recent and less public years, Dr. Cordell contributed a chapter on a proposed book by a group of Verdi scholars and completed a textbook titled "Encounters with Music through Listener Actions."

He launched into the book project, a book about music and the actions listeners take to enhance encounters with music, after a two-year stint studying assessment, teaching in the general education curriculum, and orientation programs during his term as Associate Provost for Student Centered Initiatives. In 2004 President Frank G. Pogue thanked Dr. Cordell for his efforts with the following note: "Your work in restructuring the orientation program will leave a lasting legacy for your administrative efforts."

Dr. Cordell and his wife DiAnne are the proud parents of two daughters, Alison Cannon and Kelly Johnson, both graduates of Edinboro University. Alison has two degrees from Edinboro and is now a school teacher and reading specialist in South Carolina, a "Teacher of the Year" in her district. Kelly is a graduate of the Charlotte School of Law, and an attorney and member of the North Carolina State Bar. Tim and DiAnne are members of the Selwyn Avenue Presbyterian in Charlotte and are the grandparents of two granddaughters and twin grandsons.


Tim Cordell March 2014