Berklee Online Increases Rates of Female Students, Staff, and Instructors Amid a Male-Dominated Music Industry

Berklee Online is paving the way for a new era in a music industry that historically lacks female representation and leadership. Over the past decade, the award-winning online school of Berklee College of Music has been making conscious efforts to increase the rates of female students, staff, and instructors. With more than 11,000 annual enrollments in credit-based courses and 2.4 million enrollments in massive open online courses, Berklee Online is the largest online music college in the world.

“At Berklee Online, we recognize our potential impact on the next generation of artists and music professionals,” says Debbie Cavalier, CEO of Berklee Online. “Increasing the rate of female students, staff, and instructors is a necessary step to ensure that more women are represented in the future of the music industry and those who lead it.”

In the last two years alone, female enrollment at Berklee Online has increased by 65 percent. This is more than two times that of male enrollments, which is at 32 percent. Over the last five years, female enrollment grew steadily from 24 percent to 31 percent.

Cavalier was appointed by President Roger H. Brown as the CEO of Berklee Online in 2012. Since then, she and her leadership team restructured the organization by hiring more female instructors and staff. As a result, the growth rate of female instructors increased from 28 percent in fall 2012 to 33 percent in fall 2018.

“Berklee Online began as a very male-dominated enterprise in 2001,” says Cavalier. “By 2006, I was one of only two female leaders on staff. Today, we have nine women in key leadership roles. Our team is gender-balanced, collaborative, and strong.”

A few of the women in key leadership roles at Berklee Online include Carin Nuernberg, who was recently named Vice President of Academic Strategy; Darcy Winer, Senior Director of Finance; Corina DeCandia, Director of Operations; and Molly Tomlinson, Director of Technology, who is the first female to hold this role at Berklee Online.

Some of the female instructors at Berklee Online include Bonnie Hayes and Tonya Butler who also serve as chairs for Berklee College of Music. Hayes is Chair of the Songwriting Department and has worked with artists such as Billy Idol, David Crosby, Cher, and Bonnie Raitt. Butler, who is Assistant Chair of the Music Business/Management Department, has worked with clients such as Rhino Records, MGM Music, and Global Disc Records.

Following Berklee’s latest online Master’s Degree program in Film Scoring, documentary film composer Alison Plante, was appointed as the department chair and program director. Pinar Toprak, the first female film composer of a Marvel Universe movie, Captain Marvel is among Berklee Online’s Film Scoring instructors.

With female enrollment at an all-time high, more female instructors, and a 97 percent student satisfaction rate, Berklee Online’s certificate, undergraduate, and graduate degree programs teach students the skills and help build the confidence to meet and exceed music industry demands. Learn more at

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About Berklee Online

Berklee Online is the online school of Berklee College of Music, delivering access to Berklee’s acclaimed curriculum from anywhere in the world. Berklee Online's award-winning online courses, multi-course certificate programs, and undergraduate and graduate degree programs are accredited and taught by the college's world-renowned faculty, providing lifelong learning opportunities to people interested in music and working in the music industry.

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