Cathy Brigham

Cathy Brigham


Tailoring business processes and educational offerings for programs aimed at professional learners is a key area of expertise for Dr. Cathy Brigham. A look at her curriculum vitae offers a sense of her accomplishments in the field of educational and non-profit administration.



Additional Education

Certificate of Mastery in Prior Learning Assessment, DePaul University, 2010.

Certificate of Professional Achievement as a Prior Learning Assessor, DePaul University, 2010.

Online Course Design, Concordia University Wisconsin, 2008

Leadership Skills for Managers Certification, The University of Texas at Austin's Professional Development Center, 2006

Grantsmanship Training Program, The Grantsmanship Center, 2002

Dec 2002


Indiana University Bloomington

Double minor in American Studies and Latin American Studies Dissertation: Top 40 country music and community-building among fans.

Special certifications: Double minor in American and Latin American Studies; proficiency in German; high-pass on qualifying exams; research won a paper prize granted by the American Folklore Society.

1988 - 1992


Western College Program

Major: Interdisciplinary Studies

Minor: Music Performance (piano)

Concentration: History of American Country Music

Magna Cum Laude with departmental honors

Work History

Work History


CAEL (Council on Adult and Experiential Learning)

"Availability, Use and Potential Use of Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) within Community Colleges." Special publication, 2010.

CAP (Commission on Accelerated Programs) Connected

"Retention in Accelerated Programs," Fall 2008

Folklore Forum

Invited contributor to a special edition titled Public Folklore. "Three Ideas for the Future of Folklore, 31(2), 2000.

"Review of Thomas Turino's Moving Away from Silence," 72(1), 1996

Handbook of Texas Music, The

"George Bongo Joe Coleman"

"Isaac Payton Sweat" 

"Justin Wayne Tubb" 

"Kat's Karavan"


"The Big D Jamboree"

"Waylon Jennings"

International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, The, vol. 12, no. 1

"Going Online to Make Learning Count." January, 2011

Journal of Folklore Research, The

"Book Notes Review of Harold Jan Brunvand's The Truth Never Stands in the Way of a Good Story," 2002

"Book Notes Review of Harris Berger's Metal, Rock, and Jazz," 2000

Journal of Texas Music History, The

"Book Review of The History of Texas Music," Fall 2008

"Book Review of Dance Halls and Last Calls: a history of Texas country music," Spring 2003

Nontraditional Students Report, LRP Publications

"What Would You Do?" respondent, 2008

Feature Highlight, 2007

Prior Learning Assessment Inside Out (PLAIO)

"Transforming Education through Innovations in Prior Learning Assessment", Spring 2012

Traditions, a publication of the Indiana University Alumni Association

"An Interview with Alan Dundes," February 1996

Working Papers at SAVAIL

"Theorizing an Acoustic Continuum Between Speech and Instrument: The Case of the Kmhmu," 1996

Worlds of Music

"Review of Edward Larkey's Pungent Sounds," 37(1), 1995

Awards and Honors

Invited Participant, Leadership Texas Class of 2009

Invited Representative, Society for Ethnomusicology, at the installation of incoming President, Texas A&M University, 2008

Commencement Speaker, Concordia University Wisconsin, New Orleans Center, 2008

Employee of the Year, Concordia University at Austin, 2005

Invited Speaker, National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Summer Institute on Southwestern Music History, 2003

Paper Prize Winner, American Folklore Society prize for best student paper, 1996

Louise McCarren Herring Foundation Scholarship Recipient. Awarded one of ten national scholarships, based on quality research and writing, 1996

High Pass on Ph.D. Qualifying Exams, received on exams for both ethnomusicology and folklore, Indiana University, 1996

Invited Moderator, moderating public talks given by Dr. William Ivey (former Chair of the National Endowment for the Arts and Director of the Country Music Foundation) and Dr. Peggy Bulger (Director of the American Folklife Center), Indiana University, 1996

Departmental Award. Selected for outstanding scholarship in sociology, Miami University, 1992

Professional and Community Service

Alpha Chi

Faculty Representative, Concordia University Texas, 2006 - 2008

Alpha Sigma Lambda

National Counselor, 2003 - 2008

Austin Chamber of Commerce

Member, Sub-Committee on Adult Matriculation, Matriculation Task Force, 2006 - 2008

Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, Indiana University, Bloomington

Invited Member of Outreach Program, 1996

Commission for Accelerated Programs

Chair, Research Committee, 2007 - current

Member, Diversity Committee, 2007 - current

Board Member, Executive Committee, 2007 - 2008

Editorial Board for The Handbook of Texas Music

Invited Editorial Board Member, 2001 - 2003

Ethnomusicology Students Association, Indiana University

President, 1993 - 1995

Hayden Elementary School, Indiana

Invited Participant in Hayden Heritage Days Education Program, 1996

Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education

Expert Reviewer, Kentucky Adult Learner Efforts, 2011

Museum for Computer Culture

Volunteer, 2012-current

National Institute on the Assessment of Adult Learning

Annual Conference Program Committee Member, Thomas Edison State University, 2013

Salon Concerts Austin

Board Member, 2009-2011

Society for Ethnomusicology

President and Founding Member, Southern Plains Chapter, 2008 - current

Member, Council, 2006 - current

Evaluator, Student Paper Prize Committee, 2009

Sones de Mexico

Volunteer Consultant, 2009

Standing Committee in Folklore and Expressive Culture, Folklore Center, The University of Texas at Austin

Invited Member, 1997

University of North Texas Press

Manuscript Appraiser, 2006

VSA Austin

Consultant, 2012

Western College Council, School of Interdisciplinary Studies, Miami University

Council Member, 1992 - 1994

Public Speaking and Presentation Experience

American Folklore Society

Annual Meeting, Austin (1997). "A Study of One Country Music Community"

Annual Meeting, Milwaukee (1994). "Hi There! Welcome to the Program: The Use of Oral-formulaic Composition in The Late Night Show with David Letterman"

American Studies Association

Annual Meeting, Seattle (1998). "Meaningful Experiences of Country Music: How Even Top 40 Can Be Authentic"

Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities

Annual Meeting, Las Vegas (2010). "Research Findings on Prior Learning Assessment and Impact on Adult Student Retention and Graduation Rates"

Austin Jewish Community Day School

Invited lecturer. Presented session on American Indian traditions (2000)

Commission for Accelerated Programs

Workshop facilitator. Fifth National Workshop for Accelerated Programs in Higher Education (2008). Presented workshop on faculty development and retention.

Keynote speaker introduction (2008). Summer Workshop on Accelerated Online and Blended Learning

Concordia University Texas

Guest lecturer, Campus Speaker Series on Current Research (2003)

Guest lecturer, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Invited speaker in Twentieth Century American History (2003, 2004, 2005, and 2006); The American West (2007); U.S. History to 1877 (2002)

Guest lecturer, Graduate School of Education. Spoke on the learning process (2004) and the role of the administrator in higher education (2007)

Guest lecturer, International Videoconference, Unique Impacts of Central European Immigration upon the New World (2004)

Foxconn Technology Group

Professional Development Seminar Presenter (2009) on Gender Communication in the Workplace

Indiana University

Invited panelist, New Directions in Folklore Studies, Folklore Institute Colloquia (1995)

Guest lecturer, F101, Introduction to Folklore (1994) "The Use of Oral-Formula in Late Night with David Letterman"

Guest lecturer, F111, Introduction to World Folk Music (1993) "A History of Recording Technology and Its Effects on Our Perceptions and Expectations of Commercial Music Sound"

International Country Music Conference

Annual Meeting, Nashville, Tennessee (1998). Invited lecturer for special panel.

Annual Meeting, Meridian, Mississippi (1997) "Riding the Waves: How Country Music Fans Relate to Top 40 Radio"

KMFA, WFHB and WMSR radio stations

On-air host of radio programs in folk, world and classical music (1992 - 2002)

Midwest CREST: Feasibility Study Project

Transfer & Articulation Experts and Thought Leaders Meeting

Minneapolis, MN (2010). "CAEL's Virtual Prior Learning Assessment Center"

Military Family Research Institute at Purdue University

Annual Meeting, West Lafayette (2011) "New Options for Expanding Services to Adult Learners."


Annual Users Conference, Pittsburgh (2011) "Using iWebfolio for Prior Learning Assessments"

Oklahoma State RegentsSummer meeting of their Reach Higher campaign, Oklahoma City (2011) "Tools for Improving Adult Completion Rates"

Popular Culture Association

Regional Conference, San Antonio (1997) "Looking for Mr. Right: The Search for Authenticity in Top 40 Country Music"

Regional Conference, Indianapolis (1995) "Is It in the Boots?: The Search for Authenticity in Contemporary Country Music."

Society for Ethnomusicology

Annual Meeting, Bloomington (1998) "Fans Are People, Too: The Audience Defines What's 'Real' in Country Music."


Adult Student Integrated Marketing (2012) "Attracting Adult Learners through Expanded Prior Learning Assessment Programs."

Texas A&M University

Guest Lecturer, History of American Music (1996) "History of Commercial Country Music, 1930-1970"

Texas Folklife Resources

Guest lecturer. Held in conjunction with art exhibit opening, "Honky-Tonkin'" (2002)

Guest presenter of curtain talk, Paramount Theater, Austin (1999)

University of Cincinnati

Guest lecturer, Anthropology Department (1995) "Historical and Contemporary Ethnomusicology"

Western Association of Schools and Colleges

Featured Speaker, Academic Resource Conference (2012). "Prior Learning Assessment: a Service for Learners and a Retention Tool for Institutions."

Women in Government

Regional Midwestern Meeting, July (2011) "Encouraging College Completion to Build Workforce Capacity"

Academic Faculty Experience

Adjunct Faculty

Park University, Austin Campus

2009 - current

Teaching LA 305, History and Culture of Latin America, and LA 306, History and Culture of Mexico.

Adjunct Faculty

Concordia University Wisconsin

2008 - current

Converting existing face-to-face course materials for adult learners for AL 103, Music, into curriculum appropriate for online delivery.

Assistant Professor

Concordia University Texas


Taught HIS 3311. Texas History. Developed and taught MUS 2350, World Music and Culture.

Administrative Faculty

College of Adult Education

Concordia University Texas


Guest lectures within the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Education, and the College of Adult Education, as well as outside the university.

Associate Instructor

Indiana University, Bloomington


Develop course materials and led discussion sections and lectures for large-format class, F111, Introduction to World Folk Music.

Sep 2012 - Present

Director, Higher Education Academic Engagement

The College Board
Nov 2010 - Jun 2012

Director of Faculty Development

The Council for Adult and Experiential Learning is an online resource for Prior Learning Assessment. Offering access to the development and review of individual portfolios, guides learners through a six-week online course on prior learning assessment. By the conclusion of the course, students will have assembled a student portfolio of prior learning that may be submitted to for assessment by the organization's nation-wide roster of faculty.

As Director of Faculty Development, Dr. Brigham oversees the recruitment and training of all faculty associated with -- both course instructors and individual portfolio assessors.The performance and professional development of all faculty is also overseen by Dr. Brigham, who also teaches the portfolio development course on occasion.

Issues of academic integrity, course content, and academic appeals as related to are also referred through Dr. Brigham, who oversees all academic related areas associated with the service.

Nov 2009 - Nov 2010

Senior Consultant

The Council for Adult and Experiential Learning

The Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) is a national, non-profit organization dedicated to expanding learning opportunities for adults. CAEL works to remove policy and organizational barriers to learning opportunities, identifies and disseminates effective practices, and delivers value-added services to all levels of organizations interested in lifelong learning. CAEL has been providing colleges and universities, companies, labor organizations and state and local governments with the tools and strategies needed for creating practical and effective lifelong learning solutions.

As the Senior Consultant in the Higher Education Services division at CAEL, Dr. Brigham works with colleges and universities across the country to help assess and improve their adult-learner focused academic programs and support services. Special focus is given to coaching and educating institutions on CAEL’s Principles of Effectiveness for Serving Adult Learners. Her work as Senior Consultant focuses heavily on training institutions on the effective implementation of Prior Learning Assessment. She also contributes to the analysis and growth of the ALFI (Adult Learning Focused Initiative) Initiative, a multi-part assessment project that compares peer institutions in areas related to effectiveness, academic achievement, and student satisfaction.

Aug 2005 - Aug 2008

Associate Professor and Dean, College of Adult Education

Concordia University Texas

Concordia University Texas is a four-year liberal arts university serving a mix of traditional undergraduate students on its residential campus, commuting non-traditional adult students, and Masters-level graduate students. All non-traditional programming operated initially on the Austin campus. In 2000, these undergraduate programs were moved into their own College, the College of Adult Education. The success of these programs prompted establishment of educational centers around the state, in Austin, Fort Worth, Houston and San Antonio. In 2008, total enrollment of the university was just over 2,000 students, with over 400 enrolled through the College of Adult Education. While the Dean of the College of Adult Education held traditional responsibilities such as program assessment, development of new programs, student adjudication, and committee work, the position was distinct from other Deanships at the university in that it was heavily oriented towards operations management. For example, the College of Adult Education was the only academic unit on campus responsible for budget forecasting, for meeting financial performance metrics, and for designing marketing materials and allocating unit advertising monies. In addition, the structure of the organization at the time allocated to the Dean of the College of Adult Education sole responsibility for off-campus facilities.

General accomplishments during her three years as the institution's representative for non-traditional undergraduate learning were: (1) spearheaded the successful acquisition of a $500,000 facility expansion resulting in improved program capacity and future growth potential, (2) successfully oversaw move from downtown location to new facility with no missed class time or loss of revenue, (3) regularly returned revenues upwards of 85% back to the university campus overall, with her last fiscal year with the university bringing in over $500,000 beyond revenue expectations, (4) launched a completely overhauled undergraduate program in Healthcare Administration that led to the partnership of the university with key healthcare service providers in the central Texas area and to initial steps towards program accreditation, (5) increased enrollment by 20%, (6) key participation in the re-affirmation of accreditation process, including the co-authorship of the university's Quality Enhancement Plan, (7) systematized and automated administrative processes across the state to ensure uniform experience with the university, (8) increased visibility and media attention, (9) improved communications between the main campus and its adjunct faculty base and current students and alumni populations resulting in improved student satisfaction, increased retention of faculty, and alumni involvement, (10) represented Concordia University on the Chamber of Commerce's Matriculation Task Force, charged with furthering partnerships between institutions of higher learning and corporate and civic organizations in order to meet enrollment goals outlined in Closing the Gaps,and (11) moved toward an integrated administrative and academic system that merged the College of Adult Education more effectively into duplicated processes within the traditional university system.

While serving as Dean, Brigham earned a national reputation as an expert in the field of adult education. Whether the programs are for-credit, continuing education, or professional training, Brigham has been a point person for designing programs tailored to the working professional. She serves on committees of national adult education organizations and is actively involved in research and promotion within the field of adult education.

In 2006, Concordia University transitioned its executive management into a Provost model, re-assigning some former Vice-Presidents to accommodate this new position. Immediately upon assuming his responsibilities, the Provost began planning further organizational change. Brigham was tasked with developing a plan for incorporating non-traditional delivery models, such as those offered by the College of Adult Education, more fully into the daily operations of the university. After substantial research and exploration, it became apparent that the university would need to dissolve the College of Adult Education so that academic oversight would reside in the extant traditional colleges. Because of the years allowed for the transition, Brigham was able to plan for the dissolution of the College, and the subsequent elimination of the Deanship, while also building a successful communication plan that would minimize concerns from the student body and would safeguard the positions of the majority of the College's staff and faculty. The College was officially dissolved in August of 2008.

Apr 2002 - Jul 2005

Center Director

Concordia University at Austin

Concordia University began offering its Accelerated Degree Program for working adults in the early 1990s. Initially a degree completion program only, it extended its coursework and, by 2000, was able to offer a full degree experience for working adults enrolled in the program. The flagship campus was located in Austin and by 2001, other university centers had opened across the state. Each center was managed by a Center Director responsible for administrative, management, financial and curricular issues at that location; directors were also responsible for academic advising for all students enrolled at that center. Due to sheer scale, the responsibilities of the Austin Center were considerably heavier than at other locations; the Director of the Austin Center managed nearly 75% of the entire College's enrollment with a support staff equal to the staff at much smaller centers. Brigham's areas of responsibilities were expanded beyond what was expected of other Center Directors and included: re-designing all media materials for the College, overseeing curriculum updates within programs, and representing the College on campus-wide committees.

By focusing on three main areas, Brigham was able to increase enrollment at the Austin Center by over 100% within three years; these areas were: (1) implementing program assessment to monitor and evaluate program rigor, (2) streamline and automate administrative processes, and (3) overhaul the marketing campaign of the college. In increasing classroom expectations, the College experienced a surge in new student referrals, greatly contributing to the enrollment growth experienced by the center. Brigham moved many administrative requirements online, encouraged the revision or elimination of redundant processes, and developed administrative performance metrics for basic office functions, improving performance by 40% in many categories. She also re-designed the marketing for the College by developing a contemporary image and outreach plan that would more effectively reach the program's target audience. Part of this plan included the development of a radio jingle still used today.

1998 - 1999

Folklife Specialist

Texas Folklife Resources

While many states have a government-appointed Folklorist position, Texas is one of the few states that outsources this cultural arts position. In Texas, the work was largely distributed to Texas Folklife Resources (TFR), a non-profit cultural arts agency. TFR is located in Austin, Texas, but conducts extensive work around the state of Texas. Field-based research and archiving efforts were initiated by TFR, converted into traveling museum-quality shows, and hosted around the country. Many programs were more directly hands-on, including the three programs overseen by the Folklife Specialist: (1) Folk Arts in Education, (2) Powwow in the Schools, and (3) Apprenticeships in the Folk Arts. All three programs were completely grant-funded; as Folklife Specialist, Brigham was responsible for writing and reporting grants as well as developing and administering the programs themselves. The largest program was the highly successful Folk Arts in Education series that offered customized curriculum for each classroom selected for participation. The Folklife Specialist developed curriculum specific to that classroom's immediate community, sometimes conducting original fieldwork and research in order to develop appropriate materials. Brigham would develop the curriculum, implement it in classrooms, and then offer train-the-trainer sessions to teach public school educators the nuances of offering folk arts education in their grades 3-12 classrooms. During her one year with the organization, Brigham raised over $500,000 in grant money through federal, state, city and private foundations.

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