Academic Division is headed by Dean Charles F. Reese. The Dean has the
authority to appoint persons to help carry out the operations and
developments in the Division. All appointments are made by the Dean.
GMWA’s Board of Directors via the Dean of the Academic Division,
approved the development of various academic partnership arrangements
between the Academic Division and various Institutions of Higher
Learning and corporations that can help promote and advance the overall
purposes, objectives and goals of the Academic Division. The expanding
presence and curriculum of the Academic Division has given credence and
legitimacy to the name “workshop” in the GMWA.
The Academic Division realizes there is a need for continuing education
of its enrolled membership outside the scope and boundaries of a
four-day convention session. There are special programs within the
Division that addresses these needs. A joint venture between the
Academic Division and several universities and corporations have been
made to further these arrangements. A Distance Learning program has been
established to increase the delivery of music education information,
content and training throughout the calendar year for the enrolled
membership of the organization.
One of the valued programs within the Academic Division, is the “GMWA
Certification Program.” The program is structured to endorse members for
leadership roles in music at all levels of Christian endeavor; and
(1) to build a sound foundation in evangelism and
music for lay persons and clergy.
(2) to provide further insight into the structure
of African-American religious music.
(3) to increase the knowledge of music in the
African-American culture and
(4) to provide a core knowledge from related
fields of learning, theology and curriculum development.
A library is available for use within the Academic Division and general
convention. Although the library is mobile (moving from year-to-year
where the convention is held), it is developed, structured and operates
as any other public or school library. A certified librarian is on
staff. The library utilizes correct procedures for management,
selection, organization, circulation, cataloguing and processing of
materials and equipment used in the library. Students encountering
difficulty in course-related assignments can go to the library for help.
The library is a place where you can browse its material and study
without interference. Some classes are held directly in the library.
Music courses included in the Academic Division’s offerings can compare
to high school music courses, junior-college music courses and
university-level music courses. Courses are grouped into departments.
The ranking system is utilized to earn tenure in the Division. Not only
does the Academic Division offer courses in music, but courses in Music
Administration, Church Worship, Business, Teaching & The Distance
Learning Concept, Foundational Skill Development, Medical Services,
Liturgical Dance, Evangelism, Personal Development, Research, Computer
Technology and Communication Techniques (Oral Language Development)
The Academic Division has the primary responsibility for:
• educational development;
• curriculum development;
• scholarship development; and
• general training within the organization.
Education at the GMWA brings together:
• The world of persons, events and ideas in
African-American sacred music.
• The heritage of Christian faith and practice.
• The given characteristics of an
African-American sacred music community.
• Experiences that contribute to the learning
Education at the Gospel Music Workshop of America provides a setting in
which these elements interact fruitfully in such a way that the
individual enhances the ability to think musically and function
effectively in African-American sacred music.
Some of the purposes of the Academic Division are congruent with the
purposes and goals of the parent body:
- Perpetuate, promote and advance the Christian
ideal through the medium
of music in the African American
religious experience, Euro-American sacred music
experience, Caribbean music
experiences and other forms of music.
- Impact the music literature available in church
worship and in the performance arena.
- Promote the accountability and credibility of
music in general with a focus on the
gospel music genre.
The Gospel Music Workshop of America is recognized nationally and
internationally as an organization that meets the needs of the church,
the community, corporations and its high standards in educational
developments. The GMWA is committed to giving back the varied and
diverse offerings of the organization to its members and delegates. Many
recording artists, academicians, musicians and leaders in the music
industry have come from the GMWA. Some have been able to further their
careers and academic pursuits through programs and classes taken at the
There are selected scholarships available at different GMWA convention
sessions. Scholarships are presented as contests and a winner is named
for each contest. The main scholarship is the Thurston G. Frazier
Memorial Scholarship Contest implemented in the 70s by GMWA’s Founder,
Rev. James Cleveland. Information pertaining to the name of the contest,
monetary amount, rules and regulations of scholarship fund is announced
during annual board meeting sessions. Scholarships are restricted to
members of the organization. Seventy-two students have benefited from
financial assistance received from the Gospel Music Workshop of America.
The Academic Division houses a
faculty and staff of over 185 members. Each year this number can
increase depending on new faculty applications received. IT IS NOT
ESSENTIAL FOR YOU TO HAVE A DEGREE TO BE A PART OF THE ACADEMIC
DIVISION. There are many different areas in which you can serve. We
Auxiliaries below are housed under the shelter of the Academic Division:
Thurston G. Frazier Memorial Chorale
Robert Fryson Chorale
LIP (Leadership Identification Program)
and info available for download
2022 Special Academic Program Opportunities
Academic Division Administrative Team
Listing of Classes Available in the Academic Division
Course Proposal Form
GMWA Certification Program
National Faculty Application