I have been an educator for over fifteen years in the field of art and design. I am passionate about learning, teaching, experimenting, and discovering. Check out my teaching philosophy and student project work below.
I believe that to create effective visual art communication, artists and designers must allow process to drive their work. Guided by the understanding of shared vision and commonality, objective evaluation, focus on functionality, and making a connection with an audience, process becomes more than just the presentation of a problem and solution. Instead, process centers on the engagement of critical thought through a combination of tinkering, making mistakes, having planned successes, finding excitement or frustration in unexpected results, and learning how to craft unanticipated new directions into successful solutions. When artists and designers learn to embrace process, they ultimately embrace the evolution of thought and develop a trust in their ability to solve problems. It is for this reason that I teach with a focus on process-oriented graphic and web design.
As an instructor, I believe it is my duty to deliver content, tools, and training that foster critical engagement, effective problem-solving skills, group communication, lively discussion and research, and learning how to learn beyond the traditional classroom. I also feel strongly that it is important as an instructor to provide a consistent, well organized, and structured learning environment.
Although large portions of a student's grade comes from project-based assignments in my classes, I also provide specific exercises along the way as a means of engaging students in low-stakes problem-solving activities. These exercises allow students to confidently learn and explore principles and applications of technologies without a focus on high-stakes assessment. Furthermore, exercises give students a clear sense of their performance and standing in the course to keep them from falling behind. Exercises also allow me to reach out as an instructor to under-performing students early in the semester to promote student success. Students can then use this type of platform-learning to synthesize and employ solid skills into more complex and conceptual visual communication projects. This process facilitates greater student exploration, creativity, and more advanced web and graphic designs as end products. Furthermore, it drives students to do more independent research to experiment with other technologies outside of an assignment's scope.
One of the most important products of embracing process-oriented design is a self-trust in learning how to learn on one's own. Because students need to be professional, self-motivated life learners to succeed beyond school, this self-trust is a critical confidence to carry into their chosen professions when they are no longer attached to a traditional classroom. Because web and graphic design technologies rapidly change, it is critical that students learn more than just the current industry standards and tools. To stay relevant and competitive in these ever-changing fields, they must also learn the importance of self-evolution through critical thinking, curiosity, and being committed to process.