LEARNING AND TEACHING / 3 OBJECTIVES
OBJECTIVE 1 / PREPARING PROFESSIONALS
My teaching approach has been greatly influenced by my diverse professional design experience. The content I teach is based on current design practice, which is constantly reviewed and updated by visiting design firms, meeting with alumni and adjuncts, and by attending conferences. The manner in which I conduct projects, critiques, and courses is directly related to professional examples and expectations.
My experience as a team leader or member has contributed greatly to my commitment to collaboration, challenge, and competition in my courses. Working with and motivating individuals of different perspectives, skill sets, and agendas in the workplace has aided me greatly in interacting with students in the classroom. Through my experience working with many talented designers, I have observed the qualities and characteristics that make the best thinkers, communicators, colleagues, and contributors in a professional environment. It is my objective to encourage the development of these qualities and characteristics in my students as they prepare
for professional practice.
During my teaching career at RIT, I have taught at every level in the Graphic Design curriculum, and I have taught every course except for the history and the interactive and web courses. This edibility has provided me with insight to create bridges between courses and levels, and to make strong connections with students as they move through the curriculum. Teaching at the senior level is a great t for my experience and teaching approach, where my responsibility and challenge is to prepare students for the workplace and life beyond academia.
To prepare students, I create projects and learning experiences that are meaningful, relevant, memorable, thought-provoking, challenging, and beneficial to their growth as individuals and as visual communicators. It is my responsibility as a teacher to provide the opportunities, strategies, and tools necessary for each student to grow, learn, and succeed as an individual and as a designer. I integrate visual, verbal, interactive, and experiential learning styles into all projects to bene t all students. When creating teams, I consider very carefully the personalities, skills, strengths, and learning styles of all members. Regardless of class size, it is my objective to know each student, and to help him or her find his or her visual language and creative voice.
In every course I teach, my objective is to share my passion for design in ways that are engaging, emerging, entertaining, educational, and enlightening. I provide students with complex design problems that are conceptual, creative, collaborative, competitive, and current. All of my courses emphasize independent thinking, research, analysis and evaluation, objectivity, empathy, understanding the values, needs, and motivations of end users, individual development, teamwork, interpersonal communication skills, and the development of personal, ethical, professional, and societal responsibility.
In every interaction, in every project, in every course, my objective to encourage student progress and growth. I am completely invested in my students and it is my objective that students know that I am always there for them. My goal is to prepare my students to be successful and adaptable in an ever-changing and challenging professional environment, and to help them to become the best people and designers they can be. I am at RIT to serve students.
PREPARATION IS THE KEY TO SUCCESS.
For more information, please visit Teaching/Courseloads, Teaching/Contributions, Service/Professional Experience, and my CV.
OBJECTIVE 2 / COLLABORATION AND COMPETITION
Technological developments and cultural shifts have dramatically changed the profession of Graphic Design and the means and media by which we communicate messages to audiences. Design has become more than ever a collaborative process, involving specialists and experts from a variety of disciplines working together.
It is critical that students have the opportunity of working together to develop interpersonal skills and team-building competencies before entering professional practice, where collaboration is the working model.
Collaboration has always been an objective in my teaching methodology. I am dedicated to partnerships with other professors, classes, departments, schools within CIAS, colleges at RIT, and with other universities and external organizations in order to give students the most realistic exposure and challenging experiences to prepare them for the rigors and expectations of the workplace.
All of my courses include a collaborative component. Collaborations at the lower levels are discipline-specific, and may be only one project within a course. An example of this would be the Hidden Spaces Revealed project done with Typography and Typography and Imagery. Upper level collaborations involve interdisciplinary teamwork for the entire course, involving two or more disciplines from CIAS. Editorial Design with designers and photographers, and Editorial Design with designers and illustrators, exemplify this model. Packaging Design (two separate course structures) involves three disciplines working in teams: graphic designers, industrial designers and packaging science students. For these courses, students work with external sponsors or beneficiary organizations as audiences and clients. These opportunities provide students with invaluable experience to learn about the contributions, challenges, skill sets, and vocabularies of the various disciplines in the design and implementation process. Students converge, and balance collaboration, cooperation, and competition.
Collaborations involve more time, coordination, cooperation, compromise, and effort than courses involving one section of students. Expectations inside the classroom must be firmly established and clearly understood and respected by all participants; faculty and students alike. It is important that faculty have compatible personalities and approaches, and that they share the workload. I have been extremely fortunate to have worked with incredible teachers and role models for whom I have the greatest respect, and with whom I have had incredible teaching experiences.
In addition to working with students from different levels and disciplines, collaborative experiences provide students with the opportunity to work with, and learn from, a variety of instructors representing diverse backgrounds, skill sets, and perspectives. Although it may be confusing to students when instructors provide different feedback, this is of great bene t to developing self-reliance and the ability to work with a variety of personalities and approaches in the workplace. I will say that course evaluation scores in collaborative courses tend to be lower than in courses that are one section. This is in part due to the complexity of the course structure and group dynamics.
The benefits of these experiences to our students far outweigh the challenges. Collaborations are extremely rewarding to teach. Students rise to the challenges
of teamwork, client direction, and multiple perspectives. The competitive, interdisciplinary environment and real world exposure results in a high level of student engagement. Students produce professional quality, exceptional work that they use to present to prospective employers. In addition to benefitting our students, these high pro le projects are used by participating faculty to increase awareness of our programs in the United States and globally.
TOGETHER EVERYONE ACHIEVES MORE.
For more information, please visit Teaching/Contributions, Teaching/Collaborations, Teaching/Student Awards, and my CV.
OBJECTIVE 3 / ENGAGEMENT AND INTERACTION
The students we teach today have different life experiences, skills and expectations than those even a few years ago. It is critical as a teacher and designer to find new, effective, and meaningful ways of engaging, interacting, and sharing information with students. In my teaching career, I have noticed dramatic shifts in our student population that require constant changes in teaching methodology to best meet
One of the many benefits of working with many talented teachers is the opportunity to observe and learn from them. I greatly appreciate the generosity of time and expertise that has been extended to me, and in turn, I have extended myself to those who have asked for time, advice, or teaching tips. This extension of oneself is what teaching is,
and how learning takes place. Learning requires sharing, nurturing, discussion, practice, challenge, encouragement, and implementation. In addition to learning from colleagues, I have learned so much about teaching and learning from my students.
I literally learn something with every interaction. Give and take.
My teaching approach involves providing interactive, kinesthetic, and immersive classroom experiences that are entertaining, challenging, and memorable. My courses include demonstrations, exercises, lectures, presentations, individual meetings, small group discussions, critiques, eld trips, visual audits, book/journal readings, online research, games, and competitions to keep things interesting.
In all of my courses, there is an emphasis on personal responsibility, time management and life balance. To be successful, designers must develop creativity and resourcefulness, adaptability, highly re ned interpersonal skills, integrity, the skill of envisioning the larger picture while attending to minute detail...and maybe most important of all, a well-developed sense of humor. I bring humor and fun into the classroom on a regular basis. The other element that I bring to every class session
is the power of letters, words and type. Messaging is so important in everything
we do, and it is my hope that all students, regardless of discipline or professional choice, will develop a love of words both visual and verbal, that will assist them in their professional and personal lives. This topic inevitably enters every project, course, and conversation. I am extremely passionate about this. It is part of me.
Teaching is so very rewarding. To witness the AHA! moment when a student grasps a concept or has mastered a skill, to help a student through a difficult time, to share a story or a laugh in class, to share the joy at graduation, to meet families, to share in the happy news of a great job o er or a wonderful life event, and to become friends and colleagues...it is all such a privilege and a gift. I could not think of a better career path, and I was clearly clearly meant to do this work.
The list below provides the qualities I believe are critical to excellence in teaching.
A passion for the subject matter
A sincere interest in the students
A commitment to the individual growth and development of students
A thoughtful and clear teaching approach
A love of learning, re-learning, research and personal development
A fair and objective method of evaluation
A commitment to excellence
IT’S ALL ABOUT GIVE AND TAKE!
For more information, please visit Teaching/Collaborations, Teaching/Contributions, Teaching/Awards, and my CV.