Graduate School

Byrd McDaniel

Assistant Director of Student Development
Areas of Expertise Open Graduate Education, Global Mobility Research Fellowships, Deans’ Faculty Fellows Program, Interdisciplinary Opportunities Program, Brown-Wheaton Faculty Fellowships, Research Matters, Effective Performance Workshops, other Distinctive Opportunities


Byrd McDaniel leads and manages a series of distinctive opportunity programs that enhance research, teaching, and collaboration among students in all of Brown’s PhD and MFA programs. His work creates opportunities for students to engage in interdisciplinary exchange, share their research, explore career pathways, and develop essential skills. 

Having served as faculty, researcher, and administrator at other institutions, McDaniel joined Brown administration in 2022. He holds a PhD. in Ethnomusicology from Brown University, a master’s degree in American Studies from the University of Alabama, and a bachelor’s degree in English and Chinese from Trinity University. Prior to joining Brown, McDaniel held positions at Rhode Island School of Design, Emory University, Northeastern University, and Tufts University. 

McDaniel is also a sound researcher, who regularly publishes work on music, disability, and listening. His forthcoming book—Spectacular Listening: Music and Disability in the Digital Age (Oxford University Press)—engages with themes related to institutional norms in the study of music. He has taught courses on a range of topics—music and disability justice, world music, digital music cultures, popular music spirituality, and the art of listening. An interest in sound informs all of his work in higher education, inviting questions about knowledge, translation, and expertise.