Robert Hansen Stepping Down as Director of WT School of Music; B.J. Brooks Named to Position

Chip Chandler Jun 27, 2023
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Robert Hansen Stepping Down as Director of WT School of Music; B.J. Brooks Named to Position

Copy by Chip Chandler, 806-651-2124,


CANYON, Texas — The first director of West Texas A&M University’s School of Music is passing the baton to new leadership.

Dr. Robert Hansen, WT’s Regents Professor of Music, will step down Aug. 1 as director of WT’s school, and Dr. B.J. Brooks, professor of music theory and composition, will step into the position.

Hansen, who also teaches voice, voice science and related courses, will officially retire following the 2023-24 academic year, completing 37 years of service to WT.

“It’s time to move on and enjoy life in a different way,” Hansen said.

Hansen began his WT career in 1987 as director of the opera program and a voice professor, then was named coordinator of vocal music. He was named interim head of the Department of Art, Theatre and Dance for three years beginning in 2010 and was named director of the School of Music when it officially was formed in 2012, serving simultaneously in both positions for one year.

“Being director of the School of Music is a unique opportunity at WT,” Hansen said. “I have enjoyed working with a remarkable leadership team; there is no way I could have handled this as only one person. With our outstanding faculty, I believe my role has been that of a facilitator and enabler of a creative and visionary program.”

During Hansen’s tenure, the Harrington String Quartet became full-time resident faculty at WT, a new degree program in music technology was created, and Mary Moody Northen Recital Hall was remodeled and received state-of-the-art acoustic treatment.

His participation in University development resulted in a $1.2 million increase in endowed music scholarships in the past 10 years.

Additionally, the School was designated the Marjorie Urban All-Steinway School in 2016. WT’s fleet of Steinway pianos now numbers 84.

Brooks joined the WT faculty in 2008 and teaches music theory and composition. Brooks has written marching shows for the Sound of West Texas Buffalo Marching Band since 2010, in addition to writing shows for Panhandle-area bands since 1998.

As a School of Music faculty member, he has earned awards for outstanding contributions to instructional responsibilities in 2011, for intellectual contributions in 2012 and for professional service in 2021.

He was named the director of the Buffalo Marching Band in 2021 and will continue in that position with assistant director Dr. Guglielmo Manfredi, professor of music. Brooks also will continue teaching composition classes.

Brooks earned his bachelor of music education from Eastern New Mexico University, his master of arts in music composition from WT, and his doctor of musical arts in composition from Texas Tech University.

“Having seen how Dr. Hansen has been so successful as the first director of WT’s School of Music and being an admirer of his considerable skills and dedication, it is my honor to follow in his footsteps,” Brooks said. “I believe there are considerable opportunities for the school, and I look forward to the chance to take advantage of them.

“I’ve met with each of our faculty members over the past few months, and their collective wisdom is astounding,” Brooks continued. “Our faculty is second to none in their dedication to WT, and our students are the best anywhere.”

Hansen said that leadership changes “are valuable and necessary for the long-range success of the program.”

“Dr. Brooks has provided invaluable assistance in the leadership of this School already, including helping us write a new mission statement that is more inclusive in our scope of career opportunities and breadth of musical styles,” Hansen said. “He will have the opportunity to continue to move this program forward.”

Hansen’s leadership has been invaluable to the School of Music, said Dr. Jessica Mallard, dean of the Sybil B. Harrington College of Fine Arts and Humanities.

“I have sincerely enjoyed working with him over the past 11 years and will continue to value his advice and counsel as we transition to new leadership,” Mallard said. “I look forward to Dr. Brooks stepping into this leadership role and continuing the School of Music’s positive momentum begun by Dr. Hansen.”

In the next year, Hansen said he will continue expanding WT’s relationship with the University of Colima’s School of Music in Mexico. As announced in May 2022, Colima students can earn a graduate degree in music at WT through a pipeline program.

A combination of exchange teaching and online course delivery will allow students from Colima who enter the master of music program in the WT School of Music to remain in Mexico for the first year of the two-year program. The University of Colima will provide the exchange instruction and access to facilities and infrastructure in its School of Music.

Students will then come to the Canyon campus for the second year to complete their master’s degree. The plan creates the advantage of reducing living expenses by requiring only one year in residence on the Canyon campus, Hansen said.

He also will continue to work closely with Steinway & Sons to expand WT’s participation in the development and implementation on campus of Steinway’s Spirio technology, which significantly improves music instruction and provides opportunities to offer virtual instruction to school districts and underserved communities in the region.

WT’s School of Music is a significant way in which it fosters an appreciation of the arts, a key principle of the University’s long-range plan, WT 125: From the Panhandle to the World.

That plan is fueled by the historic, $125 million One West comprehensive fundraising campaign. To date, the campaign — which publicly launched in September 2021— has raised more than $125 million and will continue through 2025.




About West Texas A&M University

WT is located in Canyon, Texas, on a 342-acre residential campus. Established in 1910, the University has been part of The Texas A&M University System since 1990. WT, a Hispanic Serving Institution since 2016, boasts an enrollment of about 10,000 and offers 59 undergraduate degree programs and more than 40 graduate degrees, including two doctoral degrees. The University is also home to the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum, the largest history museum in the state and the home of one of the Southwest’s finest art collections. The Buffaloes are a member of the NCAA Division II Lone Star Conference and offers 14 men’s and women’s athletics programs.


Photo: Dr. Robert Hansen, right, will step down Aug. 1 as director of West Texas A&M University's School of Music. Dr. B.J. Brooks, left, will assume the position.