Creating Culturally Affirming Education for Students of Color

Conference Directors

Dr. Baruch J. Whitehead

Dr. Whitehead is an Associate Professor of Music at Ithaca College.  He has been a featured presenter at the International Arts and Humanities conference in Honolulu, Hawaii in 2003, 2004 and 2005 for his research papers in the area of music and learning and diversity in music education.  His article entitled The Spirit of the Schulwerk was published in Reverberations.  Dr. Whitehead has presented workshops at MENC, NYSSMA, NJMEA and the American Orff-Schulwerk Association national conferences, as well as a workshop entitled “Making the Connection” African-American and Native American Music, in Tenerife, Spain for the 2004 International Music education Conference. He has been a featured presenter for the West Virginia Orff-Schulwerk Association, Twin Tier Orff Association and the Texas Orff-Schulwerk Association along with serving as a clinician, conductor, and adjudicator through West Virginia, Florida, Texas, Ohio and Central New York.  Dr. Whitehead also traveled to Winchester, England to present a paper on the Music of the Civil Rights Movement in April of 2006. 

He is the director of the multicultural chorus Voices in the Greater Ithaca Community and founder of the GIAC African Dance and Drumming ensemble.  He is founder and director of the Syracuse-based Gospel Choir “Unshackled”.  He is a gospel music specialist and advocate for the preservation of gospel music within mainstream musical settings. He is the 2005 recipient of the Excellence in Service Award from Ithaca College, awarded for a range of activities but especially for his involvement in helping to found and teaching in the Community Unity Music and Media Arts Program for youth of limited resources.  In his travels each summer with students from Ithaca College to the Dagara Music Center in Medie, West Africa he studies African Drumming and Dance where he has established a short-term study abroad program through the International Studies Department at Ithaca College.

Dr. Whitehead has taught marching band and concert band for over fifteen years.   He was the athletic band director for Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia where he directed the Marching Thunder.  He served as assistant principal oboist for the Huntington Symphony Orchestra. 

He was recently chosen as an international author to write a chapter on the Music in the Civil Rights Movement for an upcoming book entitled Music and Conflict Resolution. He is a peace activist and presented a peace concert with famous Israeli musician, composer and performer Yair Dalal along with a special group of young people from the Muslim and Jewish community.  His “Peace Cantata” was premiered at the 2006 Martin Luther King Celebration at Ithaca College.

Dr. Whitehead has taught at the World Music Village in Helsinki, Finland and continues to present workshops on diversity in music education for state, national and international conferences.  He will be participating in the Russian Mosaic Music Festival in Magnitogorsk, Russia where he will present workshops on gospel music and West African Drumming.  Dr. Whitehead also pilgrimages annually to Africa to study West African drumming and dance and to see and experience his ancestral homeland. Students from Ithaca College have accompanied him on his trip and enrolled at the Dagara Music Center in Medie, West Africa. The students and Dr. Whitehead have traveled throughout Ghana meeting many interesting people, experiencing great performances, and learning about the local value system where people live in harmony with nature.
 

Dr. Jeff Claus 

Jeff Claus is an Associate Professor of Education at Ithaca College, where he teaches courses about issues of equity, diversity, and social justice in education, and about multicultural, culturally responsive, anti-racist teaching. He completed a B.A., and M.S. Ed. at the University of Pennsylvania and a Ph.D. at Cornell University.  His areas of research and publication include issues of race and racism in schools and their communities, class inequality, vocational education, and service learning. He has published numerous articles and chapters and is co-editor of the book, Service Learning for Youth Empowerment and Social Change. He is currently conducting an interview study with parents/caregivers of youth of color about their children’s and families’ experiences with race and racism in school and community. He is Vice-President of the Board of Southside Community Center, in Ithaca, where he has helped write a successful grant to create a digital recording studio program for youth of limited resources, and he was a co-founder of and primary grant writer for the Community Unity Music and Media Arts Program, also for youth of limited resources. He has also been a co-presenter and designer of an Ithaca School District staff development workshop series titled, “Closing the Achievement Gap Now”; a steering committee member of “The Village at Ithaca” (a community group working to address the achievement gap); a faculty associate with the Ithaca College Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholars program; chair of the Ithaca College Diversity Awareness Committee; and, many years ago, a high school English teacher.

In addition, he is a professional musician who performs, writes, and records with two bands and co-composes filmscores for feature films and television documentaries with his wife, Judy Hyman.  He has appeared on such national programs as MTV's The Week in Rock, Prairie Home Companion, and Mountain Stage, and he has performed in such festivals and series as Central Park Summerstage, New Music America (Brooklyn Academy of Music), the Telluride Festival, the Vancouver and Winnipeg Folk Festivals, the Big Beat Festival in Vienna, Austria, and Independence Days in Berlin.  He has been written about in the New York Times, Rolling Stone Magazine, The Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe, The Chicago Tribune, and other major publications, and his music has been used by film director Oliver Stone (in "Any Given Sunday"), Natalie Merchant, MTV's Rock the Vote campaign, and others.  Three of the documentaries for which he co-composed filmscores have been broadcast nationally on PBS.  

More importantly, he believes deeply that the arts, when integrated fully and richly into the mainstream curriculum and lives of youth and their families, can help create learning experiences that are highly motivating and engaging as well as effective in producing multicultural understanding and respect, critically reflective insight, constructive social and academic development, and school success.  

School of Music  ·  3322 Whalen Center  ·  Ithaca College  ·  Ithaca, NY 14850  ·  (607) 274-3171  ·  Full Directory Listing