Todd Wright, director of jazz studies at Appalachian, teaches Jazz In American Society, Improvisation I and II, Jazz Piano, and directs Jazz Ensemble I. Wright also teaches applied jazz and assists with combos. He created the Appalachian Jazz Vocal Ensemble and directed it for ten years. In 2013 Wright was chosen Appalachian State University nominee to the UNC State Board of Governance in recognition of the O. Max Gardner Award, the highest award given by the Board of Governors. The award recognizes a member of the faculty of the Consolidated University of North Carolina "who has made the greatest contribution to the welfare of the human race." He is the recipient of the North Carolina Arts Council Jazz Composers Fellowship Grant, Teacher of the Year (Hayes School of Music), and several community service awards. He has shared the stage with numerous jazz artists. Some include Dr. Billy Taylor, Joe Williams, Benny Golson, Clark Terry, Randy Brecker, Wycliffe Gordon, Ingrid Jenson and the Marcus Roberts Trio. He has performed in Europe, Brazil, Mexico and the Caribbean. Other jazz faculty include Andy Page, guitar; Ron Brendle, bass; and Rick Dilling, drums.