Dean College Presents Excellence in Teaching Awards to Two of Its Dance Professors

FRANKLIN, Mass., May 15, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — Dean College is proud to announce that two of its Joan Phelps Palladino School of Dance professors have been recognized with the college’s annual Excellence in Teaching Award. Stephen Tracey-Ursprung, Associate Professor of Dance Studies and Thelma Goldberg, Ph.D., Adjunct Professor in Dance, are this year’s honored recipients.

Tracey-Ursprung is a lead faculty member for coursework in dance composition, dance history and dance pedagogy, and regularly teaches in the honors program. At Dean, he has choreographed and restaged several dance works and produces the annual Arts Mosaic performance series, which creates space for students to share their experimental and interdisciplinary artistic work. He also chairs Dean’s curriculum committee; contributes to the liberal arts academic program review team; and guides Dean’s student chapter of the National Honor Society for Dance Arts (NHSDA).

“Stephen’s approach to teaching is as dynamic as it is engaging, and by customizing each class to suit his students’ needs, he fosters an environment of inquiry and exploration,” said Marc Arentsen, Dean of the Palladino School of Dance. “Additionally, he recognizes the rich cultural histories embedded in our contemporary indigenous dance forms—modern, jazz, tap, and hip hop—and approaches dance history education from the viewpoint of deep cultural context. By doing so, he also introduces our students to career pathways such as dance criticism, advanced research methods, and cultural dance studies, and empowers students to thrive in an ever-evolving world.”

Tracey-Ursprung’s passion and dedication extend far beyond his classroom duties at Dean. He recently completed a research fellowship at Jacob’s Pillow, which was founded by pioneers of American modern dance and is home to the longest-running international dance festival in the United States. A vital member of the teaching and performing ensemble of Dancing Legacy, Tracey-Ursprung is also the co-director of two dance collectives: NilsSprung Dance Project and Reject Dance Theatre; and is a co-chair for the National Dance Education Organization’s DANCE 2050 initiative.

He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Italian Studies from Brown University and a Master of Fine Arts in Dance from Smith College.

Goldberg joined Dean’s Palladino School of Dance teaching team in 2021 as an adjunct professor in dance, teaching various levels of tap technique and creating choreography for productions such as the school’s Dance Company concert series. She also develops unique tap dance pedagogy coursework, which addresses not only rhythm tap technique, but also bridges the gaps in dance history, musicality and improvisation that are needed to train and equip qualified tap dance teachers and choreographers. Goldberg’s students praise her instruction, noting that they have gained a more holistic and well-rounded understanding of tap as an entire art form.

“By integrating musical theory, cultural history and tap dance lore, Thelma’s tap technique classes are a laboratory for dance students who want to be performers, choreographers or educators,” said Arentsen. “With infinite kindness and patience, she welcomes students into her vast professional network and gifts them with a life-long membership to a worldwide artistic community, setting them up for success as students at Dean and as future professionals.”

After having taught for Boston Public Schools, Goldberg opened her dance studio, The Dance Inn, more than 40 years ago to provide the finest dance training and programming possible to children and adults. In 1997, she founded Dance Inn Productions, a nonprofit organization producing annual International Tap Day festivals that honor master tappers. As an active member of the National Dance Educator’s Organization (NDEO), Goldberg is also on the board of the Massachusetts chapter. Additionally, she has been on the faculty of the DanceLife Retreat Center and the American Tap Dance Foundation’s Tap Teacher Training program and has authored several instructional books and teaching materials on tap dance and the history of tap.

Goldberg earned a Bachelor of Science in Special Education from Lesley College, a Master of Education in Special Education from Regis College, and a Ph.D. in Educational Studies from Lesley University.

Dean College is a private, residential New England college grounded in a culture and tradition that all students deserve the opportunity for academic and personal success. A uniquely supportive community for more than 150 years, Dean has woven together extensive student support and engagement with exceptional teaching and innovative campus activities. Our graduates are lifetime learners who thrive in their careers, embrace social responsibility and demonstrate leadership. This is The Dean Difference.

SOURCE Dean College

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