November 3, 2023

Is He Talking About Me?

Is He Talking About Me?

Is He Talking About Me?

By Tucker Mitchell  |  November 2023  |  FMU Focus Magazine Fall 2023

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Trustees’ Research Scholar 2021-22 to Present

When Dr. Brandon Goff’s appointment as a Trustees’ Research Scholar was announced at an FMU faculty dinner several years ago, Goff was at a table in the back of the room, joking about something with some of his colleagues.

“I heard Dr. Carter say, ‘we’ve all heard him perform …’ and I thought ‘wait, is he talking about me?’” Goff says.

He was talking about him.

The appointment touched off a rolling wave of reactions from Goff, a professor of Music Industry at FMU since 2011. For beginners, Goff was both touched and surprised. Later, as he learned exactly what the honor entailed, other emotions came into play.

“I was honored, I was touched,” says Goff. “But honestly, I had kind of forgotten we even had a Trustees Research Scholar program. And I certainly didn’t expect they’d think of me. I mean, I work my (tail) off to do the very best I can for my students, for the university, in all the stuff I do. But my office is far away from the main campus (it’s at the FMU Performing Arts Center in downtown Florence). I don’t see all the people on the main campus that often. I had no idea if anyone knew what I was doing. So I was incredibly shocked.

“But later, as I learned what was involved, as I put the award into practice so to speak, I came to realize what a real honor, a career-changing award, it is,” says Goff. “We’re not a tier 1 research university. We’re a teaching college. I’m proud of that. I’m not here to get rich, but I do want to make a difference and I love doing that. But I’ve talked to some of my friends who are at tier 1 institutions and when I tell them about this they say, ‘wow, that’s the neatest thing. I wish we had something like that here.’”

In that regard, Goff says the TRS honor carries great symbolism that does have the ability “to motivate you in a philosophical way.”

But he finds the practical, the tangible, just as meaningful, if not moreso.

“Being released from one class per year, the amount of time that frees up, just makes a huge difference,” says Goff. “Last year, I dedicated a lot of time to helping produce the Rocky Horror Picture Show (a student musical put on by the music industry and fine arts departments). It was a huge success for our students, for both departments. But, and I’ve told Dr. Carter this several times, that wouldn’t have been possible without the release time from the Trustees’ Research Scholar program. Something like working on a student musical — that’s not really part of my teaching. I don’t know if you really call it research either, but that’s the kind of thing I do. And I do think it makes me better, makes my teaching better.”

Goff says he’s used the scholar’s stipend to pay for incidental expenses during his summer performance tours. Goff is a well-known name in certain genres of music, and in certain venues, most in Europe. Some are not exorbitantly funded, so his travel is not always completely covered.

“I played two shows last summer in Portugal and Belgium,” says Goff. “My travel wasn’t all covered, so (the stipend) helps with that. It gives me the latitude to do these kinds of things. I’m always adamant about including students in those events, when it’s possible, and I think that’s an unbelievable benefit for our students.

“So the tangible, that means a lot to me,” says Goff. “It’s pretty cool how it all works.”

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