SAFE Faculty Spotlight: Trevor McKenzie

Trevor McKenzie, Director, Center for Appalachian Studies
Student and Faculty Excellence (SAFE) Fund Recipient: Spring 2022

Project: “Visits with Regional Music Tradition Bearers”

College of Arts and Sciences Student and Faculty Excellence (SAFE) grant funding enabled McKenzie to bring guest speakers to his "Old-Time Music Traditions" course. Specifically, the funding sponsored a visit by Paul Brown, traditional musician and journalist. The goal of the course was to allow students to explore the complex history of traditional Appalachian music. Brown engaged students with a thoughtful presenter of music traditions and someone who can speak eloquently about their development and continued importance. The students dove deep into Brown’s research on the Western North Carolina music tradition of "Breaking Up Christmas," about which he produced a radio and podcast program.

“Brown is a great speaker and traditional musician who added a lot to the class through his workshop with my students,” said McKenzie.

According to McKenzie, the history of Appalachia has been told by singers as much as writers. The region's music is a window into cultural, social and political history. Workshops that place students in the room to engage with purveyors of traditional music allow for interaction and moments of experiential learning, which students will carry with them long after they leave the classroom.


About the Center for Appalachian Studies
The Center for Appalachian Studies promotes public programs, community collaboration, civic engagement and scholarship on the Appalachian region. The center is committed to building healthy communities and deepening knowledge of Appalachia’s past, present and future through community-based research and engagement. Learn more at

About the SAFE Fund
Initially endowed by Hughlene and Bill Frank, the College of Arts and Sciences Student and Faculty Excellence (SAFE) Fund provides resources that can be used to support undergraduate, graduate and faculty experiences. The SAFE Fund provides funding for college priorities and opportunities that arise throughout the year. These unrestricted funds support student and faculty travel, publication support for faculty and student research opportunities. Learn more at:

SAFE Faculty Spotlight: Trevor McKenzie
Published: Mar 21, 2023 8:20am