Graduate Spotlight: Janice Marciano Nimetz, History and Education ☆

Janice Marciano Nimetz graduated this May with her PhD in History and Education. Nimetz has taught piano at the Emma Willard School for several years and plans to continue teaching there. Nimetz, who has also studied Musicology, hopes to find more places of intersection for her two passions: music and history.

Nimetz, who wrote her dissertation on music schools as examples of professional education, wanted to study the history of higher education and answer the question “What is an educated person and how does that- or does it- change when you go to a professional school, whether you come out of a liberal arts environment or a more vocational environment?” Nimetz wanted to explore the tension between “…developing talent and acquiring a firm academic foundation,” as she noted that both practicing music and academics are highly demanding fields of study, which often left her students struggling to find the balance between the two.

As for her time at Teachers College, Nimetz says, “The program [in History and Education] just broadened my horizons… I really have become very conscious of different points of views [and their] validity and how positions have different demands. ” Nimetz also spoke highly of her colleagues and the support they offered. “I worked in isolation for so long, but this past year I had more contact with my colleagues in History and Education and it meant a great deal to me… being with them was very supportive.”

With her many years of teaching experience, Nimetz had some words of wisdom for incoming teachers about the important qualities in an educator. “I think a broad vision and somehow the word compassion [comes to mind]… first of all a broad vision and that’s for many things. As an educator, for example, you have to understand different cultures and backgrounds that people are coming from. You have to understand different talents and how you can apply your teaching skills in a variety of ways… An educator needs to know [his or her] field well so it allows for flexibility… to recognize different learning styles, different backgrounds, [and] to try to take in as much understanding as you can.”