Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Urban Education


College of Education and Human Services

First Advisor

Catherine Hansman, EdD

Subject Headings

Adult Education, Higher Education, Music


Very few music therapists have educational background or training to be proficient at teaching at institutions of higher education. With only minimal (if any) training in andragogy and in research methodology, music therapy junior faculty (MTJF) members find themselves novice academics in the highly structured, competitive environment of the academy. In order for music therapists to be successful in their career change from clinical work to the academy, improvements and modifications to the education of future music therapy professors are likely, but data are necessary to intimate and to guide those changes. This narrative research study explored the lived experiences of nine MTJF members as they sought to become successful members in the academy. Semi-structured interviews were conducted, and participants reviewed their narratives. Transformative Learning Theory was used as the theoretical framework and social constructivism as the interpretive paradigm. This study’s findings indicated participants had similar experiences in their paths to music therapy, in their preparation for a future in higher education, in their pivotal relationships, in the tenure process, in their struggles, and in their knowledge of self. Recommendations for modifications to the music therapy graduate curriculum and for music therapy programs are made based on indications from the findings. These modifications include expanding opportunities for teaching, researching, and exposure to institutional politics; implementing extensive professor-graduate student mentorship; requiring a doctoral degree for tenure-track positions; extending professor mentorship to junior faculty members; developing a textbook on the academy for potential music therapy professors; and striving for improved diversity in graduate programs.