Darrin Thornton, assistant professor of music education, is the recipient of the 2012 Outstanding Dissertation Award, given by the Adult and Community Music Education Special Research Interest Group (SRIG), National Association for Music Education (NAfME), for his dissertation, “Adult Music Engagement: Perspectives from Three Musically Engaged Classes.” He will present his paper at the SRIG session of the NAfME conference in St. Louis, March 2012. Thornton received his doctorate in music education from Penn State in December 2010.
"It is gratifying for my work to be acknowledged by the leading professional organization in the field of music education," said Thornton. "I'm excited to disseminate the research within this forum and humbled by this honor and opportunity."
Thornton joined the School of Music faculty in 2010 and currently serves as an e-Learning Institute Faculty Fellow and director of the Center for the Study of Learning and Teaching while teaching music education courses. His research focuses on music education teacher training, professional development for in-service music professionals, educational access and outreach in music, and adult music engagement. Prior to his current position, he taught at the elementary, middle, and high school levels in New York and served on the conducting faculties at the University of Missouri and SUNY-Fredonia. Before returning to school to finish his doctorate, he also enjoyed a 16-year administrative career in higher education, holding posts at the University of Missouri, SUNY-Fredonia and Penn State.
Thornton holds an undergraduate degree from Northwestern University and graduate degrees from National Louis University, University of Missouri, and Penn State. Professional affiliations include College Band Directors National Association (CBDNA), College Music Society (CMS), National Association for Music Education (NAfME), Pennsylvania Music Educators Association (PMEA), and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia. He remains active as a performing percussionist, conductor and adjudicator, and assists with the Penn State Marching Blue Band.