The University of North Carolina Wilmington's 2011 nominee for the Board of Governors Award for Excellence in Teaching is Frank J. Bongiorno, professor of music and jazz studies coordinator. Dr. Bongiorno joined the faculty in 1982 and served as chair of the Department of Music from 1994-2008.
Throughout his 29 years here, he has been an active teacher, scholar, and performer, both as soloist and in ensembles. Listed in the 2000 International Who's Who in Music and the 2000 Outstanding Musicians of the 20th Century and the recipient of both the Dr. J. Marshall Crews Distinguished Faculty Award, presented by the Alumni Association, and a UNCW Distinguished Teaching Professorship Award, Dr. Bongiorno traces his passion for teaching back to his days in high school when he began tutoring younger students in music. He notes that, "In arts education, and in particular music performance study, the teacher's role is further defined by the teacher's ability to not only understand the necessary psychomotor skills for proper execution of appropriate performance skills, but also to orally communicate, as well as demonstrate these skills to the student. In doing so, a music professor draws upon one's own experience of the skills to be modeled, as well as upon life experiences similar to and/or equivalent to the skill to be learned by the student."
One of his colleagues writes, "He possess that special ability to identify the crucial needs of his students, and I have observed year in and year out those students not only flourish at UNCW but go on to have successful musical careers. What makes Dr. Bongiorno's teaching accomplishments especially remarkable is that during 12 of the last 14 years he was the Music Department Chair while maintaining a full teaching load. He is one of those rare musicians that not only is a world class performer but also one of the most respected pedagogues amongst his peers. His knowledge of pedagogy goes way beyond his instrument and encompasses both music education and higher education in general. He has been sought after to write articles on pedagogy in his discipline's important journals throughout his career."
In addition to numerous recordings and over 150 articles, many related to teaching and pedagogy of the saxophone and jazz performance techniques, he has developed and published five instructional CD's in these areas. He is especially proud of UNCW summer jazz workshop, established in 1996 and now attracting over 60 students from in and out of state, and of the success his students have enjoyed as musicians. Professor Bongiorno earned a bachelor of music in saxophone performance and music education at Ithaca College, a master of music in saxophone performance with a minor in jazz studies at the University of North Texas, Denton, and a doctor of music in saxophone performance with minors in jazz studies and music education from Indiana University, Bloomington.