Meet Professor Kinh T. Vu—Kilachand Hall’s Faculty-in-Residence

When the time came for me to figure out my who I wanted to write a profile on for Her Campus, and I was feeling desperate enough to maybe actually do a roommate interview, I remembered that I was lucky enough to live in BU’s own Writers’ Corridor on Kilachand Hall’s fourth floor. For the first time in years, the Writers’ Corridor was assigned a coordinator — Professor Kinh T. Vu — whose cozy apartment functions not only as a space for the floor’s writers, but also as a space for many of us both in and out of the specialty housing to meet, converse, and enjoy Professor Vu’s delicious pastries.

Professor Vu is one of Kilachand Hall’s faculty-in-residence and often hosts writing sessions, study breaks, and running events.

Professor Vu and the Kilachand Hall Running Club at Boston Harbor.

He teaches music education in the College of Fine Arts and is currently co-editing a book set to be released in 2019 called My Body was Left on the Street: Music Education and Displacement. He lives in the corner of the building, and his apartment is what one could use to accurately exemplify the fall-aesthetic. He is a warm person, and during his last open hours, I got him to open up a little about his involvement in the BU community by asking him a few questions.

 

What does BU mean to you?

“BU means community-making, in a way that the university is really doing an admirable job, welcoming many kinds of students. I also think it means development, which sort of entails or includes the fact that we don’t exactly know who we are as a university; so that leaves us a lot of room to grow — not necessarily grow in terms of student-body or number, or grow in terms of faculty size, but to grow intellectually, to grow emotionally, to grow as a kind of family."

 

What helped you realize your passion for teaching?

“I had really great teachers as a high schooler and phenomenal professors in my undergrad when I was going through education to become a teacher, and then as a public-school teacher — that’s what really helped me develop me as a teacher.”

Professor Vu also comments that when his students question him is when he knows they’re learning or that he’s succeeding in teaching them.

 

What are the ways in which you try to impact the BU community?

“I work with BU athletic bands, and that group of students who participate in those ensembles are primarily not music majors.  Just interacting with a larger group of students who are not in the school of music has really been very influential, I think, in their lives, because they see another caring faculty member who’s not in their department. Maybe the student ia an engineering major and they’re like, oh yeah I get to interact with these school of music faculty and staff every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday and it’s so different — not easier, not harder, but different than what I’m doing Monday through Friday every day in my major and I think that’s one place.

"I think when I’m asked [to take part in] on campus events, like at center for teaching and learning or education conferences, I say yes because it’s good to be known on campus as a faculty member who’s doing something and it’s great to meet my colleagues outside the school of music. And today I was crossing campus, just because I do that — it’s a Saturday — and I was stopped by four colleagues, not one of them from the music field, just to say hi and say “oh, how are things going,” and that’s very good because if they have a student who would benefit from something they can say, “oh, you should talk to Dr. Vu, let me just connect you by email.”’

Professor Vu also hopes that his role as a faculty-in-residence will help more students feel like they belong to BU, or that they have a community here.

Dr Kinh T. Vu and Dr Tawnya Smith, assistant professors of music education at conference on music education (Sept. 2018).

 

You’re hosting the Writers’ Corridor this year — how, in your life, do music and writing intersect?

“Well, they’re both creative arts and they both ask the artist to dig deeply into herself and to bring out experiences that maybe are either real or imagined or dreamed of and to be displayed somehow, whether in writing of in music, so oral or sound. They intersect in such a way that we can’t really know what their impact will be until we actually perform them — performing in the writing or reading of it or going to a recital and playing in the recital. We don’t know how it would affect lives. I would imagine that some writers, famous writers, had no idea how much their work would impact the world.

Another commonality between the two is that it doesn’t matter if you’re going to become a professional. What matters is that you’re doing it— that you’re playing and singing or that you’re writing, or that your dancing, or whatever — cause a lot of people say that they’re not artists: “Oh, I’m not a singer, I’m not a dancer, I’m not a musician, I’m not a mathematician.” Well, do you do those things at home? Yeah. Okay, well then, you’re a dancer, singer, artists, mathematician, whatever. Right?”

 

Can you say a little bit about the Writers’ Corridor? What kind of students are you looking to attract? What was your reaction when you were asked to take charge of it, and what do you hope to achieve through it?

“The Writers’ Corridor is being revitalized — it existed for many years, when Eugene O’Neill passed away. The Writers’ Corridor was established to honor his life and death — which we forgot to commemorate on the 27th of November! Anyway, the university has for whatever reason decided that they wanted to revitalize the program. When they hired me to become faculty-in-residence they asked me to coordinate the program, and I’m not a writer — I mean I am, an academic writer — and I told them that and they were like, “Well you’re from CFA, you’ll be okay.”’

 

Professor Vu has been one of the driving forces in creating a home for many students here at BU. If you want to learn more about him or his works, you can visit this page.

 

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