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As a division of Johns Hopkins University, Peabody believes there is more to developing musicians than practice, practice, practice. It takes a broader knowledge of culture, art, history, and philosophy to really understand and perform great music, so an intellectually rigorous academic program in the liberal arts has long been a hallmark of a Peabody education.

As a Peabody student, you will fulfill 30 credits of Liberal Arts courses. Most students will enroll in a two-year Core Curriculum (12 credits); you may petition to substitute designated courses at Homewood or other institutions in place of the Core Curriculum. Students needing intense writing instruction will take six credits of Writing Intensive before beginning the Core Curriculum.

After completing the Core Curriculum, you will take the appropriate number of additional Liberal Arts courses to reach 30 credits. At least one of these courses (or three credits) must be a class at the .300 level, indicating a course that engages with secondary literature or requires a substantial research paper. While you may take some at Homewood or elsewhere, Peabody’s Liberal Arts Department provides a rich and rigorous menu of courses designed specifically for Peabody students. A regular rotation of electives (including languages) will be offered by the Liberal Arts Department to meet the additional credit requirements. U.S. History and Introduction to Psychology–required for Music Education students–will be a staple of the curriculum.

The Language Program will offer full-year six-credit courses in French I, German I, and Italian I, as well as German II, to meet the requirements of Peabody Voice majors. Language courses at Peabody will be focused primarily on language acquisition. Languages may be taken as electives to meet Liberal Arts requirements after completion of the Core Curriculum.

Peabody undergraduates are encouraged to fulfill their Liberal Arts requirement with courses offered in the School of Arts and Sciences at Johns Hopkins University.

Departmental Attendance Policy

Attendance is essential to student success in our classes. Students with excessive absences cannot pass our courses. Students are advised to withdraw from a class rather than fail due to poor attendance.

Beginning in 2017, this is the attendance policy for all Peabody Liberal Arts classes:

For classes meeting once/week, students with four absences fail the course. (No distinctions are made between excused and unexcused absences.)

For classes meeting twice/week, students with six absences fail the course. (No distinctions are made between excused and unexcused absences.)

For classes meeting three times/week, students with eight absences fail the course. (No distinctions are made between excused and unexcused absences.)

Individual instructors will explain how their specific course rules abide by this policy.

Questions About AP and Transfer Credits

AP and Transfer credits

Full-Time Faculty

Robert D. Day

Robert D. Day received his PhD in English from Johns Hopkins in 2015 and is working on a book project on ethos and political commitment in the works of Wyndham Lewis, George Orwell, C.L.R. James, and Doris Lessing.

Hollis Robbins

Hollis Robbins, winner of the 2014 Excellence in Teaching Award, has taught at Peabody since 2006. She is on sabbatical during the 2017-18 school year.

Jelena Runić

Jelena Runić coordinates the ESL Program. Runić obtained her Ph.D. in linguistics from the University of Connecticut. Her research interests include both theoretical and applied linguistics. In theoretical linguistics, she has worked on the morphosyntax of Slavic, Romance, Balkan, and East Asian languages.

Visiting and Part-Time Faculty

Adam Culver

Adam Culver received his PhD in Political Science Department from Johns Hopkins University in 2015. He received his B.A. in Political Science from Grinnell College in 2005 and his M.A. in Political Science from Johns Hopkins University in 2007. His research interests are situated at the intersection between comparative racial politics and contemporary political theory, and his work engages an array of intellectual traditions, including Greek Tragedy, German Romanticism, Afro-American prophecy, continental philosophy, critical race theory, post-colonial studies, Black Nationalism, and agonistic pluralism. He is currently working on a dissertation titled “Race and Vision: A Tragic Reading” that explores a set of creative intersections between romanticism, Nietzschean thought, and black politics in thought and action. When he is not teaching, researching, or writing, Adam enjoys working on music and DJing at various venues throughout Baltimore City. He was named “Best DJ at a Club” in 2008 by the Baltimore City Paper and has performed with numerous recording artists, including DJ Scottie B, The Death Set, Leif, Das Racist, Spankrock, and Diplo.

Carol Haddaway

Carol Haddaway is a part-time faculty for the ESL 1 classes. She most recently served as a Senior English Language Fellow of the U.S. Department of State at Yangon University in Myanmar and in similar postings in Belarus, Ukraine and Syria where in addition to teaching English, she conducted teacher training methodology, developed curricula and materials. Carol started her ESL career with Anne Arundel Community College as an ESL Instructional Specialist and was also an adjunct teacher trainer with UMBC in the e-Teacher Scholarship Program and the English Language Institute. She also worked as a project officer in the Asia/Near East Divisions at Johns Hopkins University Center for Communication Programs in the School of Public Health. She holds a M.A. degree in Instructional Systems Design, ESOL Bilingual from the University of Maryland (UMBC) and a M.Sc. degree in Applied Behavioral Sciences from JHU.

Laura Kafka-Price

Laura Kafka-Price, instructor of French, earned a PhD in musicology from the University of Maryland at College Park and degrees in voice and French from University of Alaska and MethodistUniversity in NC. She has taught music and foreign languages at various levels of instruction including University of Maryland College Park, Georgetown University, Shippensburg University and L’École d’Immersion Française Robert Goddard. She has articles and reviews among her publications and numerous concert and recital engagements.

Deborah McGee Mifflin

Deborah McGee Mifflin is Associate Teaching Professor in the Department of German and Romance Languages and Literatures of Johns Hopkins University, where she serves as the German Language Program Director and Graduate Teaching Assistant Supervisor. She has studied at the Universität Hamburg, Temple University (BA, MA), and Georgetown University, where she completed advanced graduate study in applied linguistics and second language acquisition in German. Her major areas of interest are the theory and practice of adult foreign language learning and teaching, second language acquisition, classroom interaction, and L2 oral production, as well as contemporary German issues. Her interest in contemporary German culture and classroom instruction is reflected in her co-authored advanced German textbook publication, Was ist deutsch? Working with the German Embassy in Washington, DC, she organized Homewood campus events as part of the initiatives Freedom without Walls (2009), Do Deutsch (2010), Think Transatlantic (2012) and 25 Years Fall of the Wall (2014). Most recently, Professor Mifflin was elected to the Executive Council of the national organization, American Association of Teachers of German (AATG).

La Toya Bianca Smith

La Toya Bianca Smith, MS, EdS, PhD is a Senior Staff Employee Assistance Clinician for the Johns Hopkins University and Health System Faculty, Staff, and Student Assistance Program (FASAP/JHSAP). Dr. Smith initially joined the Hopkins family in 2012 to complete her APA-Approved Psychology Doctoral Internship at the JHU Counseling Center. During her internship, Dr. Smith continued her commitment to diversity, inclusion, and issues of social justice by working with institutional and community entities to establish the JHU Sexual Assault Helpline, collaborating with the Office of Multicultural Affairs to create a Student of Color Therapy Support Group, and joining institutional affinity and diversity groups. Dr. Smith completed her PhD in a social justice focused Counseling Psychology program at the University of Kentucky where she also earned a Specialist in Education with an emphasis on counseling traditionally marginalized populations. Her research and clinical interests include the factors that contribute to psychological and academic wellbeing—especially among traditionally marginalized populations, program development, outreach, and suicide. Her work is largely influenced by positive psychology and strength based approaches and she believes in establishing a secure therapeutic alliance in order to empower those with whom she works. Dr. Smith has chaired and co-chaired the First Generation College Student subcommittee of the DLC since 2014.

Oliver Thorndike

Oliver Thorndike (Ph.D. Johns Hopkins University, M.A. Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany) specializes in Immanuel Kant, the history of philosophy, and the philosophy of art. He is the co-editor of the book series “Rethinking Kant.” He was the Chair of the Committee of the North American Kant Society (NAKS) in its Eastern Division from 2014-17. A preview of Dr. Thorndike's latest book, Kant's Transition Project and Late Philosophy. Connecting the Opus postumum and Metaphysics of Morals can be found here:

Among the courses he has taught at the Liberal Arts Department of the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University are: 260.115 Humanities I; 260.216 Humanities II: Seminar in Philosophy of the Arts: Immanuel Kant's Theory of Beauty, Art and Genius; 260.359 Humanities III: Philosophy of Art; Humanities IV: E.T.A. Hoffmann, Richard Wagner, Johannes Brahms.

Gavin Witt

Gavin Witt has been at Center Stage since 2002, first as Resident Dramaturg and then as Associate Artistic Director. He spent the previous decade in Chicago as Dramaturg at Northlight and Court Theatres; as Academic Coordinator of University Theater at the University of Chicago; and as a founding company member of the classically based theater ensemble, greasy joan & co. As a dramaturg, his work has ranged from Sophocles and Shakespeare to Stoppard, Shaffer, and their contemporary peers—including freelance and developmental dramaturgy for TCG, Playwrights Center, The Old Globe, Bay Area Playwrights Festival, CATF, National New Play Network, The New Harmony Project, and the Kennedy Center. Directing highlights include a half-dozen Shakespeare plays, Ostrovsky’s A Family Affair, dozens of new play workshops and staged readings, and most recently the Center Stage production of Twelfth Night. A graduate of Yale and the University of Chicago—where his studies focused on English Renaissance literature and drama—he was active in Chicago theater for over a decade as an actor, director, dramaturg, translator, and teacher. In addition to teaching on the faculty of the University of Chicago, Barat College, and DePaul University, he consulted for the Chicago Humanities Festival, and guest lectured at the Graham School of General Studies, Oak Park Shakespeare Festival, and Department of Cultural Affairs. Since arriving in Baltimore, he has taught a variety of courses as adjunct faculty at Towson University, and guest lectured at UMBC Honors College, Stevenson University, and others. Among his theatrical adaptations and translations are versions of Shakespeare’s Pericles, Marlowe’s Tamburlaine, Ovid’s Metamorphoses, and Ionesco’s Macbett; his co-translation of Beaumarchais’ Barber of Seville was subsequently published. He serves on the advisory board of several small theaters, is an active member of the Dramaturgy Focus Group of ATHE, presents regularly on panels and at conferences around the country, serves as an evaluator and adjudicator for national arts funding awards, and proudly spent many years as a regional vice-president of LMDA, the national association of dramaturgs.

Alessandro Zannirato

Alessandro Zannirato is Associate Teaching Professor and Director of the Italian Language Program at the Johns Hopkins University; he received his PhD from the School of Languages and Literatures of the University of Cape Town, South Africa. An applied linguist and conference interpreter by training, his research interests include foreign language pedagogy, program evaluation, interpreting, and L2 teacher training. Before coming to Hopkins, he taught foreign languages to music and voice students at Alla Scala Academy in Milan, Italy, and at the South African College of Music in Cape Town.