I’ve never been a fan of honorary doctorates. On the many occasions that I’ve sat on the Bridgewater Hall stage for MMU graduation ceremonies, I’ve seen them given out to various celebrities and wondered why they deserve the conferment of an academic award for basically doing the day job. Also, as someone who worked hard to get a PhD in the proper way (none of the PhD by publication rubbish that’s becoming popular nowadays), I suppose my view is that you need to work hard to get this qualification (actually, work really hard) and not just be dished one out to add to your collection of gongs. I know that sounds a bit petty.
This morning, at MMU’s Faculty of Education graduation event at the Bridgewater Hall, things will be different; very different. In this morning’s event, my friend and colleague Geoff Reed will receive his honorary doctorate.
Geoff has enjoyed a long and distinguished career as a music educator. During the final part of this, over the last ten years, he has been working at the RNCM in collaboration with MMU supporting our PGCE in Music and PGCE in Music with Specialist Instrumental Teaching courses. He has worked tirelessly with hundreds of MMU’s students in this role . His warmth, wise counsel and humanity have shone through all his dealings with them.
For myself, Will and Jane, as a team of MMU tutors, Geoff has been an outstanding colleague. His advocacy for music education never fades and his commitment to provide the very best quality educational experience for our students has never dipped. At a personal level, we have all benefited from his broad perspective and wisdom on all matters to do with music education within higher education, schools and music services. Geoff is widely respected within the field of music education across the United Kingdom and Europe, through the Association of European Conservatories.
Geoff is a quiet and humble man. He would never have put himself forward for an award such as this. However, it was our belief that he would be an ideal candidate to be recognised in this way because of his:
- Commitment to high quality music education of the highest order shown throughout his career at various schools, Sefton Music Service and latterly at the RNCM;
- Collegial approach to working with and supporting MMU staff in the most constructive and positive manner;
- Advocacy for MMU students and staff through our long standing collaborative engagement with the RNCM;
- Wonderful humanity that has shined through all our work with him. This will be testified to by a huge range of other colleagues, musicians and educators .
This event marks the end of Geoff’s career. He is retiring shortly from the RNCM. I am pleased that we are marking this by honouring Geoff with this award. It is full deserved. Unlike so many who dabble in initial teacher education today, Geoff understands deeply how the process of initial teacher works and how vital the role of the university is in caring for and nurturing students through this process . His wisdom and counsel has been a daily inspiration to us.
Congratulations on your retirement Geoff. Enjoy being Dr Reed. It is well deserved. We will miss you.