Lisa Adkins Runner serves as an associate professor of music education in the Hayes School of Music at Appalachian State University. She joined the Hayes School of Music as an adjunct faculty member in August of 2000 and began work as assistant professor of music education in August 2006.
Visitors to Runner’s classes observe students listening, singing, moving, playing musical instruments and creating their own compositions. Students collaborate with partners, work in small groups, and participate in hands-on activities requiring analysis and reflection. Presentation of information and skill development in every class proceeds from the simple to complex, each activity providing a strong foundation for subsequent, more complicated assignments. Students are involved in relevant discussions and sample activities before completing individual or small group projects without instructor assistance. A former student, now a high school teacher, reflected, “I still hold tightly to a quote she included in her course syllabus: ‘Tell me, I’ll forget. Show me, I may remember. Involve me, I’ll understand.’ Dr. Runner does this incredibly well; she goes beyond telling her students information or even showing them how to teach. She involves students every single day in activities, in discussions, in every process of learning, and the things she teaches stay with them.”
Communicating effectively with individuals from all walks of life undergirds Runner’s teaching and work as a club sponsor; knowing her students is first priority as conversations both inside and outside of the classroom help to create a learning community where it’s safe to take risks. One former student observed, “Her classroom truly felt like a comfortable place where we could develop creative compositions and try novel instrumental arrangements, all without the fear of “failure” or rejection.” Another reflected, “She showed me my strengths, but more importantly, she helped me to see the areas where I needed to grow, and she always did it in a way that was positive and nurturing. I think that is one of Dr. Runner’s most unique traits; she helps you to see the positive in everything.”