Carnegie Mellon University

Joanna Bosse

Joanna Bosse

Interim Head, School of Music

5000 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213


Joanna Bosse joins Carnegie Mellon University’s College of Fine Arts as interim head and visiting professor of music for a two-year term. Bosse previously served as associate dean for administrative affairs and strategic initiatives in the College of Music at Michigan State University (MSU). Prior to that appointment, she served for six years as associate dean for academic affairs in the Residential College in the Arts and Humanities at MSU.

An ethnomusicologist and dance scholar with a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Bosse has taught at MSU, Bowdoin College, Millikin University, and Illinois State University. Throughout her career, she has expressed a strong commitment to the notion that sustained artistic practice is a necessary component of optimal wellness for individuals and communities. This philosophy is reflected in her research interests that most recently include the relationship between music, health and well-being; music and movement; and music cognition and emotion.

Bosse’s publications have focused on partnership dance traditions among amateur, hobbyist performers like salsa, tango, swing and ballroom. Her book, “Becoming Beautiful: Ballroom Dance in the American Heartland,” (University of Illinois Press 2015) presents an ethnographic case study of amateur ballroom dancers who experience personal transformation through artistic engagement, and her award-winning documentary film, “Becoming Beautiful,” (2017) has screened on three continents. Her research on whiteness, race and performance appears in The Journal of American Folklore, Dance Research Journal, Ethnomusicology Forum and elsewhere

Bosse said that she looks forward to working with School of Music communities to focus on "future-directed initiatives that build upon the strong foundation that is part of the school's history."