Berklee Online Increases Rates of Female Students, Staff, and Instructors

Talia Smith
August 15, 2019
Press release

In the last two years, female enrollment at Berklee Online has increased by 65 percent.

Debbie CavalierBerklee Online is paving the way for a new era in a music industry that has historically lacked female representation and leadership. Over the past decade, Berklee's award-winning online school has been making conscious efforts to increase its rates of female students, staff, and instructors. 

“At Berklee Online, we recognize our potential impact on the next generation of artists and music professionals,” says Debbie Cavalier, CEO of Berklee Online. “Increasing the rate of female students, staff, and instructors is a necessary step to ensure that more women are represented in the future of the music industry and those who lead it.”

In the last two years, female enrollment at Berklee Online has increased by 65 percent. This is more than two times that of male enrollment, which is at 32 percent. Over the last five years, female enrollment has grown steadily, from 24 percent to 31 percent.

Cavalier was appointed by President Roger H. Brown as the CEO of Berklee Online in 2012. Since then, she and her leadership team have restructured the organization by hiring more female instructors and staff. As a result, the growth rate of female instructors has increased from 28 percent in fall 2012 to 33 percent in fall 2018.

“Berklee Online began as a very male-dominated enterprise in 2001,” says Cavalier. “By 2006, I was one of only two female leaders on staff. Today, we have nine women in key leadership roles. Our team is gender-balanced, collaborative, and strong.”

A few of the women in key leadership roles at Berklee Online include Carin Nuernberg, recently named vice president of academic strategy; Darcy Winer, senior director of finance; Corina DeCandia, director of operations; and Molly Tomlinson, director of technology, who is the first female to hold this role at Berklee Online.

Some of the female instructors at Berklee Online include Bonnie Hayes and Tonya Butler. Hayes, chair of Berklee's Songwriting Department, has worked with Billy Idol, David Crosby, Cher, and Bonnie Raitt. Butler, assistant chair of the Music Business/Management Department, has worked with clients such as Rhino Records, MGM Music, and Global Disc Records.

Alison Plante, former chair of Berklee's Film Scoring Department, was appointed as program director for Berklee Online's new Master of Music in Film Scoring program. Pinar Toprak, the first female composer to score a major superhero movie, Captain Marvel, is among Berklee Online’s film scoring instructors.

With female enrollment at an all-time high, more female instructors, and a 97 percent student satisfaction rate, Berklee Online’s certificate, undergraduate, and graduate degree programs teach students the skills and help build the confidence to meet and exceed music industry demands. With more than 11,000 annual enrollments in credit-based courses and 2.4 million enrollments in massive open online courses, Berklee Online is the largest online music college in the world. Learn more at

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