College of Communication & Fine Arts
Dr. Michael Thrasher
Michael Thrasher currently serves as Dean of the College of Communication & Fine Arts
and Professor of Music at Troy University. He previously served as Associate Dean
for Academic Affairs & Director of Graduate Studies and as Interim Dean at the Florida
State University College of Music. His past experience includes administrative and
faculty positions at the University of Texas at Tyler, North Dakota State University,
North Central Texas College, and in public school music education.
As a researcher, Thrasher has presented papers and lectures at conferences of the
College Music Society, National Association of College Wind and Percussion Instructors,
Texas Music Educators Association, and National Association for Music Education. He
has been featured as a presenter or performer at numerous conventions of the International
Clarinet Association, including at festivals in Ohio, Georgia, Sweden, Spain and Belgium.
His work has been published in various journals, including the Journal of Performing Arts Leadership in Higher Education, Planning for Higher Education, The Department Chair, The Clarinet, Saxophone Symposium, Medical Problems of Performing Artists, and the NACWPI Journal.
As a performing clarinetist, Thrasher has performed in symphony and opera orchestras
in various states, including the Tallahassee Symphony (Florida), Shreveport Symphony
(Louisiana), Fargo-Moorhead Opera and Symphony (North Dakota), Texarkana Symphony
(Texas), and the Longview Symphony (Texas). He has also appeared as a recitalist and
chamber musician in locales from Florida to California.
Thrasher has served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Tallahassee Symphony
Orchestra and the East Texas Symphony Orchestra, and he also serves as a Minister
of Music at Immanuel Baptist Church in Tallahassee. He is currently a visiting evaluator
for the National Association of Schools of Music.
Thrasher holds the Bachelor of Music Education degree from Northwestern State University,
and both the Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees from the University
of North Texas.
Prof. Tori Lee Averett
Associate Dean, College of Communication & Fine Arts
Tori Lee Averett brings a strong and committed voice for collaboration and integration
of different ideas, people, and groups in and through the arts, education, and community.
She holds the B.M.E. and M.S. in Vocal/Choral Music Education and the B.S. in Theatre
from Troy University, and she holds the M.F.A. in Playwriting and Poetry from Georgia
College. Tori is an accomplished performer, director, choreographer, writer, musician,
and teacher. She has presented at regional and national festivals and conferences
in the areas of education, theatre, arts integration, and creative writing, and regularly
serves as a resource person for artists and educators. She has received national and
regional honors from the Kennedy Center-American College Theater Festival, and she
is a national recipient of the Chair Academy’s 2021 Idahlynn Karre Exemplary Leadership
Award. Tori was selected by the Alabama State Board of Education to represent Theatre
in the Alabama Arts Course of Study revision, approved and adopted in 2018. Tori is
an active artist and performer, a singer/songwriter with two original albums released
and several more in production. Her research interests include arts integration, interdisciplinary
and multicultural arts, and diversity and inclusion through the arts and arts education.
Tori directs the Summer Spotlight performing arts series, coordinates the Summer Arts
Academy in Pietrasanta, Italy, leads the Pied Pipers children’s theatre troupe, directs
various productions, and heads up the Integrated Arts program. Tori is a member of
the Troy Arts Council Board of Directors, and she serves as a resource person for
the Johnson Center for the Arts and several other local and community arts, civic,
and education organizations. She currently serves as Department Chair and tenured
Associate Professor in the Department of Theatre and Dance at Troy University, as
well as Associate Dean for the College of Communication & Fine Arts. Tori is a proud
native of Brundidge, Alabama.
Greg Skaggs is an active artist who has shown his work throughout the south and southwest
and internationally. Notably, he was selected to show nationally in New American Drawings
and regionally in Drawing on Alabama, both showcased up-and-coming talent from the
United States and throughout the South. Selected works were also chosen for “Urban
Wild” at the Contemporary Museum of Art in Mobile, Alabama, and “Uncommon Territory
– Contemporary Art in Alabama” at the Montgomery Museum of Fine Art. Skaggs was selected
to be a part of a group show at the Ogden Museum of Art in New Orleans. He is also
a member of IC3 (International Center of Collaboration and Creativity), which has
worked on projects in Halmstad, Sweden. He served on the Board of Trustees at the
Wiregrass Museum of Art from 2008 – 2015 and currently serves as the Vice-President
for Communications for FATE (Foundations in Art: Theory and Education). Skaggs also
was appointed to serve on the curriculum board for Advanced Placement–The College
Board (associated with Educational Testing Services) and spends part of his summer
as a reader for AP Studio in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Other exhibitions include a solo show at the Birgit Nilsson Galleri, Örebro Konstskola,
Örebro, Sweden; and collaborations with McMaster’s University in Hamilton, Canada.
Skaggs has also collaborated with artists from Örebro, Sweden; London, England; Tel
Aviv, Israel; and Bremen, Germany.
Born in Longmont, Colorado – to the parents of oil tycoons and cattle barons – and
living much of his life in Texas and Oklahoma, Greg Skaggs serves as Professor and
Chair of the Department of Art & Design at Troy University. Greg holds undergraduate
degrees in Graphic Design and Art Education, and an MFA in Painting and Drawing from
the University of Oklahoma.
Kirk Curnutt joined the faculty of Troy University’s Montgomery campus in 1993 and
was for the first stretch of his career the youngest tenured professor in the system.
During his twenty-two years in the capital city, he helped developed first the television
distance learning initiative and then the English department’s online major and its
writing courses. In 2016 he relocated to the Troy campus to oversee English offerings
throughout the entire system. Thanks to his time in Montgomery, his research interests
have focused on F. Scott Fitzgerald. For many years he served on the board of the
Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald Museum in Montgomery and since 2013 has served as the executive
director of the international F. Scott Fitzgerald Society. He is the author of several
works of fiction and criticism on not only Fitzgerald, but also Toni Morrison, William
Faulkner, the 1970s, and popular music. He teaches both online and on the Troy campus,
focusing on creative writing, American literature, senior seminar, and—finally, after
many years of begging the School of Music to permit him—the history of rock ‘n’ roll.
Robbyn Brooks Taylor is the director of Hall School of Journalism & Communication,
where she also teaches undergraduate, master's and doctoral students. She earned both
her B.S. in Broadcast Journalism and M.S. in Strategic Communication from Troy University
and completed her Ph.D. in Communication at Regent University. Dr. Taylor specializes
in mobile journalism and multimedia journalism techniques, and also works with the
department's broadcast, advertising and public relations students. Dr. Taylor was
the student publications adviser for Troy's student newspaper, The Tropolitan, and the school's yearbook, The Palladium until June 2022 when she became the school's director. Before joining the Hall School's
faculty, Dr. Taylor worked as a photojournalist at WSFA in Montgomery, a reporter
at WNCF in Montgomery, a reporter, mobile journalist, columnist and editor for Freedom
Communications in Northwest Florida (The Destin Log, The Northwest Florida Daily News and The Crestview News Bulletin), an international spokesperson and media coordinator for People for the Ethical
Treatment of Animals in Washington, D.C. and as managing editor of The Messenger in Troy. Dr. Taylor has garnered awards for her journalism writing both in Florida
and Alabama, and has won top paper awards from divisions in the Southern States Communication
Association, the National Communication Association and the Religious Communication
Association. Dr. Taylor is currently the immediate past-chair and nominating representative
of the Political Communication Division of the Southern States Communication Association,
the president-elect of the Southeast Journalism Conference and on the editorial board
of Artifact Analysis.
As an active performer, Dr. Hui-Ting Yang has performed throughout the Czech Republic,
China, Korea, Taiwan, and the United States. Her extensive repertoire includes an
increasing focus on American living composers, including Augusta Read Thomas, Laura
Schwendinger, Matthew Burtner, Ladislav Kubík, Chen-Yi, Paul West Osterfield, and
Clifton Callender. In summers 2015 and 2016 she was invited to give recitals, master
classes, and to teach applied pianos in several schools in China, including at the
Nanjing University of Arts, Sichuan Normal University, Sichuan University and Science
and Engineering, Nanjing Normal University, Shandong University at Weihai, and Guangzhou
University. She also performed Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue with the Symphony Band as the first concert of the Steinway Artist Concert Series
at Troy University in April 2015. In September 2012 she recorded three chamber works
by Ladislav Kubík with mezzo-soprano Phyllis Pancella and violinist Karen Bentley
Pollick. In November 2016 Dr. Yang and Ms. Pancella performed a recital in celebration
of Kubik’s seventieth birthday in Prague and recorded his three newly composed works.
In June 2010 she performed seven solo recitals throughout the Czech Republic, including
performances at the highly acclaimed Cesky Krumlov International Music Festival and
the Artist Concert Series in Děčín.
She was invited as a guest pianist to perform at “The Days of Contemporary Music”
festival in Prague, organized by the Society of Czech Composers, which has been broadcast
on Czech Radio. In February 2007 she gave the premiere of Callender’s Point and Line to Plane for piano solo, which was composed for her, in the Thirteenth Biennial Festival of
New Music at the Florida State University. She has also performed this piano piece
in the 2011 International Conference of College Music Society in Seoul, Korea, the
2008 SCI National Conference at Georgia State University, the National Conference
of the College of Music Society in Atlanta, and the 2008 CMS Southern/South Central
SuperRegional Conference at Louisiana State University. In 2009 she gave the premiere
of Callender’s Metamorphoses II for violin and piano, commissioned by the Florida State Music Teachers Association,
at the FSMTA Annual Conference and a lecture recital on this piece at CMS National
Conference in 2010. She also performed this piece at the Parma New Music Festival
as part of the celebration of Pendulum CD release in August 2014.
In 2006 Hui-Ting gave the Asian premiere of Korean composer Ju-hwan Yu’s Sonata for Violin and Piano No. 1, which was dedicated to her. Her recordings are available through Kum Seoung Records,
Parma, Arco Diva, and Neos.
She has also lectured on the music of Hsiao Tyzen at numerous national conferences,
including the National Meeting of the Society for Ethnomusicology at Wesleyan University,
the National Conference of the College of Music Society in Atlanta, and the 2008 Southern/South
Central SuperRegional Conference at Louisiana State University. Her book, Composing Taiwan: Selected Taiwanese Art Songs of Hsiao Tyzen, is published by VDM Publishing House Ltd.
Hui-Ting received the Doctor of Music in Collaborative/Chamber Music and the Master
of Music in Accompanying from Florida State University, the Master of Music in Piano
Performance from Ohio University, and the Bachelor of Music Education from Taipei
Municipal University of Education. Dr. Yang is currently Professor of Piano and Interim
Director of the John M. Long School of Music, where she received the Troy University
2009 Faculty Senate Excellence Award.
Hui-Ting Yang is a Steinway Artist.
Peter Howard has been a member of the Troy University faculty for fifty years, during
which time he has taught courses in English, linguistics, German, Latin, Greek, classical
civilization, and the University Honors Program. He holds degrees in classical languages
and music history from the University of Alabama and The Florida State University,
and he has studied additionally at Loyola University of Chicago’s Rome Center and
the Free University of Berlin. A military veteran, he worked for three years as a
German translator/analyst with the U.S. Army Security Agency in West Berlin. He has
been a department chair in various capacities at Troy since 1983. At the state level,
he served two terms as president of the Alabama Classical Association and two terms
as president of the Alabama Association of Foreign Language Teachers. At the national
level, he has worked with the College Board and Educational Testing Service for over
thirty years, holding the positions of Chief Reader for the Advanced Placement Latin
Exams and chair of the Development Committee for the SAT Latin Subject Test. For ten
years he directed the National Placement Service for Teachers of Latin and Greek,
and more recently he served two terms as president of the American Classical League.
For thirty-one years, he was associate editor of the Journal of Band Research, and with a lifelong love of music, he continues to play french horn in the Southeast
Alabama Community Band. His general interests include musical theater and all types
of classical music. He is a former Scoutmaster with the Boy Scouts of America, and
he is a charter member of the International Frisbee Association.
Director of Development