Liberal Arts Faculty

Matthew Smith

Assistant Professor, Liberal Arts | 617 747-6135

"It’s possible to appreciate the scientific side of music without losing your appreciation of the fact that it is a form of expression, that it is an art form. That’s something I try to communicate to my students so they don’t see me as some sort of dry scientist who just wants to reduce everything to a bunch of tedious equations. Mathematics isn’t just numbers and formulae and equations, it’s taking things that you know and trying to use those to find out something that you would like to know but do not currently know. I don’t expect to produce a class of mathematicians, but I at least hope that my students appreciate the greater role of mathematics and the ideas underlying it, not just in music but in the wider world."

Anne Squire

Associate Professor, Liberal Arts | 617 747-8507

"Being in a musical environment, it makes sense to use songs as a learning tool. Singing canons, translating lyrics, and listening to popular or art songs have been fun class activities. As a native of France, I consider discussing French culture as another important aspect of my teaching. And because of the international student body of Berklee, comparing our cultures always lead to very interesting exchanges."

Henry Augustine Tate

Professor, Liberal Arts | 617 747-8377

"My job, I tell my students, is to be their guide, to help them articulate what they already know. For me, that's what the process of education is—it's the act of leading out. So I tell my students to think about a symphony. There is going to be an introduction, or an 'entry' in painterly terms. The leitmotif in a musical composition is a 'directional' in a painting. And then we have major movements, which carry the viewer's eye around the composition and lead us to a finale, which we call an 'exit.' When showing my students the importance of color and why we have to be careful about color, I'll say, for example, 'Red is almost a D major. You put that in the wrong place, and your composition will fall apart.'"

Ben Thomas

Assistant Professor, Liberal Arts | 617 747-8697
  • B.A., Brandeis University
  • M.A., Boston University
  • Ph.D., Boston University
  • Author of “Visualizing the Political Landscape of the Sibun River” in Archaeological Investigations in the Eastern Maya Lowlands: Papers of the 2003 Belize Archaeology Symposium
  • Coauthor of “Wetlands, Rivers, and Caves: Agricultural and Ritual Practice in Two Lowland Maya Landscapes” in Perspectives on Ancient Maya Rural Complexity
  • Coeditor of Sacred Landscape and Settlement in the Sibun River Valley

Victor Wallis

Professor, Liberal Arts | 617 747-8122

"I'm very concerned to keep up with as many dimensions as possible of what's happening now. I have a sort of listserv-an email list of people to whom I send items about current politics; for instance, an analysis of Obama's appointees in the economic realm. I've had an academic career in political science. I edit the journal Socialism and Democracy. The latest issue has a special focus on immigrants. I also write for Capitalism, Nature, Socialism, theMonthly Review—which has a pretty wide international circulation. So I keep busy!"

Sara Whitman

Assistant Professor, Liberal Arts

"It is really important to study liberal arts. Without understanding how to do more than just music you can't live up to your creative potential or have as much depth in your artistry. You won't be able to use your music as effectively to reach out to a broader community. I want students to leave my classes with not only excitement about being at Berklee, but an understanding of their own creative skills outside of music, and how they can use those skills to support and enhance their musical talent."


Wayne Wild

Associate Professor, Liberal Arts | 617 747-8409

"The supreme moment of creativity is reaching that level in which you are both entirely engaged with what you're doing and yet aware that you're in it, what Aaron Copland calls being both inside and outside a work simultaneously, as creator or audience. It's kind of an exquisite moment. Poets also speak to that, and how to combine spontaneity with form, to be both Dionysian and Apollonian. That is a supreme aesthetic question I ask students to consider, as they learn so much order and form at Berklee yet want to express their own spontaneous impulses."

Michael M. Williams

Assistant Professor, Liberal Arts | 617 747-2350

"I am consistently impressed by the capacity for critical thinking, the engagement, and the verbal acrobatics that the students are able to achieve in class. These are some of the best and brightest students that I've ever taught. They love to talk. Students are invariably interested in sharing their own experiences and applying reading, theory, and philosophy to their everyday life. I think that students welcome reflection. That's something that's special about Berklee. I think it has to do with their being creative artists."