Interview with Charles Freeman


Charles Carousel 2Unbound: What was your role in the education system?

Charles: I was a college professor, teaching music history and related classes at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Unbound: At what type of school did you work?

Charles: Over the course of my career, I taught at both public and private (evangelical Christian) universities.

Unbound: Tell me about the demographics of your students.

Charles: At the evangelical university, my students were overwhelmingly white, with very few black, Asian, or Asian-American students.

At the public universities, my students were still mostly white, though there were more black and many more Asian students (typically from Japan, China, South Korea, or Taiwan).

Unbound: Why did you work in education?

Charles: I was a professor for two major reasons. 1.) I was passionate about the subject matter I taught and wanted music students to understand why it mattered; 2.) My abilities and talents were suited to the work.


Nothing and no one was to be considered unimportant.

Unbound: Did your worldview and beliefs about religion and ethics affect your work in the school system?

Charles: Yes. Nothing and no one was to be considered unimportant.

Unbound: What was the most challenging part of your work?

Shutterstock Graduation capCharles: In the particular subject and setting in which I worked, the biggest challenge was often getting musicians to care about the history of the music they played.

Unbound: What was the best part?

Charles: Easily the most rewarding and energizing part of the job was “seeing the light come on”; the moment in which the student breaks through and understands or sees connections he/she hadn’t seen before. Teaching seminars – with small groups of students who specifically wanted to pursue the subject at hand – was also extremely rewarding.

Unbound: Based on your experience, if you could magically enact one large-scale change for education in general, what would it be? Why?

Charles: I would say a smaller teacher/professor-to-student ratio. There needs to be more “face time” between students and teachers, or between professors and small groups of students – and no more of those 400-student lecture courses! I never knew a student or professor who found those satisfactory or successful (I was thankfully spared from ever having to teach one).


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