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K-State Today

May 9, 2024

School of Music, Theatre, and Dance honors faculty with inaugural awards

Submitted by the School of Music, Theatre, and Dance

The School of Music, Theatre, and Dance hosted a celebration dinner on May 6 and presented three inaugural faculty awards with 150 students and faculty in attendance.

The awards were the culmination of a yearslong process involving multiple evaluation committees and the School Committee on Planning. Each of the winners received a plaque and a $1,000 award.

Excellence in Service Award: Rachel Dirks, assistant professor and director of orchestral studies. 

Dirks is an active conductor, clinician and educator. In addition to her work with the KSU Symphony Orchestra, she teaches applied cello and string education courses at K-State. As a guest conductor, Dirks has been invited to conduct orchestras throughout the United States, including recent appearances in Kentucky, Oregon, New York, Illinois, Missouri, Oklahoma and throughout Kansas. As a featured clinician, she has presented at the National Convention of the American String Teachers Association, the Midwest International Band and Orchestra Clinic, and the state music education conferences of Texas, Oregon, Colorado and Kansas.

Excellence in Teaching Award: Sally Bailey, professor and director of the drama therapy program.

Bailey serves as academic advisor to graduate students in theatre and directs the Barrier-Free Theatre program. Bailey has been a registered drama therapist since 1990 and a board-certified trainer since 1997. Her drama therapy work has been primarily with people with many kinds of disabilities, recovering substance abusers and older adults. She is an advocate for inclusive theatre — also called barrier-free theatre or accessible theatre — so all people are able to enjoy and participate in theatre on and off stage. Through her leadership, Kansas State University is currently the only public institution in the United States with an accredited drama therapy program.

MTD Excellence Award: Amanda Arrington, senior professor of practice. 

Arrington is the faculty collaborative pianist for Kansas State University's music program. She maintains an active performing career, collaborating with faculty artists, guest artists and students in more than 100 concerts each year. An advocate of new music, she has premiered solo and chamber works for a number of conferences and on many of the world's greatest stages.

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