2015-16 Morse-Alumni Undergraduate Teaching Award Winner
Michael J. Silverman, sitting next to timpani, smiles and holds a guitar.
Michael J. Silverman

Associate Professor, School of Music

Upon arriving at the U of M in 2008, Michael Silverman began a thorough curricular revision for the bachelor’s and master’s music therapy programs. He also secured funds to update the technology in the on-campus clinic laboratory, to the benefit of both students and community members.

Silverman also reached out to clinics and regional facilities to significantly increase the number of clinical practicum sites. He is faculty supervisor for the award-winning Music Therapy Student Association (MTSA) and has supervised numerous student research projects. Silverman manages undergraduate recruiting for music therapy, which involves evaluating 50 to 60 prospective students, of whom 8 to 10 are selected.

 My teaching goal and philosophy is to create life-long learners who are productive and contributing members of society dedicated to serving marginalized and disenfranchised clinical populations.—Michael J. Silverman

“He sees potential in his students that has not yet been noticed and helps them to see it for themselves,” says one former student. “To me, this is the hallmark of higher education.”

Silverman teaches three of four core undergrad music therapy courses and supervises each student’s internship. While also the director of music therapy, he teaches extra courses and refuses sabbaticals to ensure that students get the full benefit of his skills. The payoff is rich: All U of M music therapy graduates who studied under him are now employed as music therapists.

“I witnessed the music therapy program flourish into a successful program under Dr. Silverman,” says a former MTSA president and scholarship winner. On her achievements, she adds, “I wholeheartedly believe [they] would not have happened without his direction and guidance.”

College/school: 
College of Liberal Arts