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Dance News Archive

Retiring Dance Professor Pam Musil Reflects on 27 Years at BYU

After serving the Department of Dance for 27 years, professor Pam Musil retired at the end of Winter semester 2020. The following are her own words.


Professor Pam Musil in class with dance students. (Courtesy of Erin McClellan)

As an undergraduate dance student, I felt that I had found my home within the Department of Dance. I still remember how in awe I was of my professors. To me each of them, in their own ways, epitomized what and who I wanted to become. I remember looking specifically at Dee Winterton as he was introduced at a state AAHPERD meeting, and wondering how he had accomplished so much! I felt I would never be able accomplish anything near what he had done. Looking back now, I realize that through a lifetime of “plugging away” within the discipline, most of us accumulate accomplishments in a similar way.

One reason why the Department of Dance felt like home to me was because I always felt cared for and nurtured by the faculty. I was often amazed that they even knew my name. Nurturing and caring have been hallmarks of the Department of Dance for as long as I can remember. I have felt a strong call and stewardship to show my own students the same degree of nurturing and care that I encountered as a student. I only hope I have been a fraction as successful in that nurturing process as my own professors were.

Throughout my tenure here at BYU I have had many opportunities to travel and to seek professional development. I have been pushed to write and to publish, and in doing so, have learned to be a better writer. I have served as a faculty member among colleagues who I consider to be among the best in the profession. Given all of these opportunities, I have always counted myself fortunate, and in many ways unworthy to be here. “Imposter Syndrome” is a real condition that many, often women, experience when working in highly challenging environments. I certainly experienced it many times myself as I wondered if I was really capable of doing all that was expected of me. Those feelings have driven me to be the best I could be, and to contribute and serve in whatever ways possible.

When I count the many blessings of working here at BYU, my students are always among those that I count most dear. I have been blessed by and have learned from my students throughout my career as a dance educator. Looking back, I am amazed at how many students I have taught throughout the decades that I have been a dance educator. When I think of all that my students have taught me, I often receive the quiet assurance that I have been the receiver of profound lessons that are exponentially greater than any lessons I have given.

Read the full essay in the Department of Dance newsletter.