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Teaching Philosophy

Teaching is much more than a one way presentation of ideas; it is an interactive dialogue, a two way communication that often leads to a transformational learning experience. As an educator, an open and responsible dialogue is a personal objective that is multifold and interconnected, combining characteristics and traits that include openness, knowledge, and passion, to form a foundation for a truly rewarding relationship.

My primary goal, as a teacher, is to create openness with my students and promote collaboration that is necessary and favorable for learning. I set high expectations and challenge my students to make mindful and critical examinations of multiple solutions and push them past their initial ideas. I impart core fundamentals through lectures and presentations, foster critical thinking so that students will eventually take control of their own scholarship, and guide the transition from student to working professional. In my experience, making myself available to my students, listening to them, encouraging questions and discussion helps them to find their own voice and that voice must be supported and nurtured. A sincere relationship grows with a willingness to be influenced and an open door to learning from one another.

Teaching is an opportunity to educate and inspire. My second objective is to convey my knowledge about the graphic design field and motivate students to develop an understanding of the design process. I provide students an historical context to recognize how the profession adapts to evolving technology and society and to explain the process with an approach that permits discovery. I require my students to consider multiple avenues of ideation first, sketch and experiment with concepts second, and then turn to the computer to produce their ideas. Because graphic design combines art, technology and reflects zeitgeist, students must be willing to become well versed in all of these areas. I include research and writing assignments as part of design projects to challenge my students to provide a framework for content. The communication arts are continuously shifting in form and practice, a designer must be flexible in order to succeed.

My third objective is to lead by example. I have a great passion for graphic design and a desire for life-long learning and I hope to pass this disposition onto my students. I feel it is essential that students understand the designer’s role in society. As an educator, I hope to instill in my students a sense of respect for themselves and for the field in practice. I believe it is imperative to not only teach students how to successfully and creatively solve class assignments, but how to become professional artists with respect for the client relationship and ethics in communication arts. A designer should be able to communicate effectively with the client, as well as with other members of the design team, in all instances, maintaining personal integrity and focusing on the consumer. In class, this begins with target audience research, discussion, and critique. Through lecture, analysis, and client-driven projects, I guide my students through the transition from classroom to industry.

In order to help my students achieve these objectives I diligently work on developing projects that work toward the outcomes of each course at all levels of instruction. I provide my students with clearly defined and organized projects and grading criteria. In class, I allow time for critique and discussion and offer technical support for project execution. As a collaborative team, we pursue eloquent expression of our own thoughts and ideas about design. Through this growth and exploration, a transformation emerges as students view the world as communication designers and inspire the artist and educator in me.