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Coelho Named Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education

Victor Coelho, associate provost for undergraduate education. Photo courtesy of Victor Coelho

University Provost David K. Campbell announced yesterday the appointment of Victor Coelho, chair of the College of Fine Arts musicology department and of the College of Arts and Sciences music department, as associate provost of undergraduate education. In the newly created position, says Campbell, Coelho will coordinate and enhance all aspects of undergraduate education by expanding communications between BU’s schools and colleges and their deans and associate deans. He will be instrumental in the design of the University Honors Program, which is replacing the University Professors Program, and he will reevaluate the undergraduate core curriculum and work to eliminate curricular barriers between schools and colleges.

“It’s a job that is very much in the spirit of One BU,” Campbell says.

Although Coelho arrived at Boston University only 18 months ago, he has made a big impression — on both students and colleagues. His hands-on teaching methods and passion for pop culture have won the respect of the undergraduate population, and his experience in bringing together interdisciplinary curricula has caught the eye of BU officials.

“Victor is a very broad, engaged, and enthusiastic intellectual,” says Campbell. “Anyone who works with him comes away inspired.”

The new position is effective immediately, but Coelho will retain his budgetary responsibilities as department chair until CFA hires a replacement. “The transition into a completely new position is always an exciting challenge,” he says. “I think my new responsibilities will offer a lot of room for creativity and innovation. My immediate goal is to evaluate communications between various departments and determine their priorities, strategic goals, and strengths. One of my main focuses will be examining CAS and how its programs can facilitate movement between disciplines.”

While Coelho’s studies focus primarily on 16th- and 17th-century Italian music, his research in African-American music and rock history have landed him appearances on Fox Network, CBC (Canada), PBS, and MTV. As a professional lutenist, he has performed extensively throughout North America and Europe, and his recordings appear on the Stradivarius and Toccata Classics labels. His books include Music and Science in the Age of Galileo; The Manuscript Sources of 17th-Century Italian Lute Music; Performance on Lute, Guitar, and Vihuela; and The Cambridge Companion to the Guitar, and he is currently cowriting a history of Renaissance instrumental music.

Coelho’s interests run well beyond classical music research. A University administrator by day, he is a jamming musician by night, playing guitar in the Rooster Blues Band, which regularly tours the blues circuit with Chicago R&B artist Lou Pride. The band, which Coelho founded, has released two albums: Come on in My Kitchen and Bluestoons.

Coelho spent the bulk of his career at the University of Calgary, in Canada, where he taught for 20 years. Before that, he held posts at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, the Ecole Normale Supérieure, in Paris, the University of Melbourne, in Australia, and Cornell University. He has a bachelor’s degree in music history from the University of California, Berkeley, and a master’s and a Ph.D. in musicology from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Although he is leaving the classroom for an office at One Sherborn St., fans of his popular course The Rolling Stones: Rock Exiles needn’t fear. His new post allows him to teach one class a year, and, says Coelho, that “means the Stones are here to stay.”

Vicky Waltz can be reached at vwaltz@bu.edu.