Dijana Ihas is an Associate Professor of Music Education at Pacific University in Forest Grove, OR, where she teaches undergraduate in music education as well as directs/conducts Pacific Philharmonic Orchestra. She also serves as an applied viola instructor and supervises student-teachers. Dr. Ihas is a Founding Director and Master Teacher of the Pacific University String Project, an after-school community program that provides affordable, high quality string education to community student while at the same time providing undergraduate students to practice their teaching skills under the supervision of music faculty. The Pacific University String Project is the first program of its kind in the state of Oregon and was awarded the 2018 ASTA National String Project Award.
Prior to her position at Pacific University, Dr. Ihas taught elementary, middle, and high school strings, orchestra, and general music for seven years. During her teaching time at Sprague High School (Salem, OR) its advanced string orchestra Camerata won the Oregon String Orchestra State Championship for three consecutive years, as well as a selective national competition known as the Mark of Excellence for two consecutive years. In addition, Sprague’s intermediate orchestra performed in festivals and competitions and received noticeable ratings. In her final year of teaching in public schools, Sprague’s full symphony orchestra, co-directed by Dr. Ihas, won the Oregon Full Orchestra State Championship.
Her research interests revolve around development of higher levels of thinking through conceptual teaching in orchestra classes, string pedagogy as applied to teaching string instruments in various educational settings, mentoring undergraduate research, and access to string education. Dr. Ihas has completed a 3–year (2014-2016) research seminar on Excellence in Mentoring Undergraduate Research at Elon University’s Center for Engaged Learning (Elon, NC). As a member of a group of thirty international and national scholars, she was engaged in collaborative, multi-disciplinary research on mentoring undergraduate research which resulted in two published referred articles and a submitted chapter for publication within a book. Dr. Ihas was the only scholar from the arts within this research seminar and her research greatly contributed to the enhancement of the understanding of mentoring undergraduate research in music and the arts. Her studies have been published in CUR Quarterly, Journal of String Research, and the American String Teacher and well as the Oregon Music Educators Journal.
While living in her native Bosnia and Herzegovina, Dr. Ihas was employed as a professional viola with Sarajevo’s four professional orchestras. She was also the viola player of the Sarajevo String Quartet, a professional group, who for its unprecedented efforts in preservation of human dignity during the Bosnian War (1992-1995), captured the close attention of media at international level and who received the most prestigious honor by the Bosnian government.
Dr. Ihas’ educational background includes PhD in Music Education from the University of Oregon, Master’s Degree of Music Education from the University of Arizona, Master’s of Fine Arts in Viola Performance from the University of California in Irvine, and Bachelor’s Degree in Viola Performance from the University of Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Dr. Ihas has received numerous awards including Pacific University’s Junior Faculty Award (2015) for her dedication to excellence in teaching, scholarship, and service and Pacific University’s Faculty Achievement Award (2018) for her dedicated work with Pacific University’s music department and String Project.