The basis for my teaching philosophy is anchored by ten fundamental principles. These principles have been formed not only by my teaching experiences, but have been greatly influenced by many diverse professional design experiences. A leading factor in the development of my teaching philosophy is the diversity of work situations and individuals throughout my career, both as an educator and designer. The combination of extensive field experience as a designer along with classroom instruction, significantly aids in bringing the relevance of the design profession directly into the classroom.
The first of these disciplines is to establish and continually reinforce good art and design foundational skills. No matter if these skills are traditional drawing skills or more technologically centered software skills; fundamental skills are essential to progressing and creating as an artist or designer.
2. Understanding typography
Areas of study should include a comprehensive understanding of typography. Specifically, once fundamentals of typography are understood, I strongly encourage experimental exploration of typography.
In order to have a greater sense of the possibilities of design; students need a complete understanding of the origins of design. This historical understanding should include graphic design, advertising, industrial design and architecture. As a result of exposure to multiple design disciplines, the student’s visual and creative process.
4. Multidisciplinary studies
Unique problem solving is the benefit when students, design or otherwise, of various disciplines come together. Whenever possible, I specifically encourage students to cross-pollinate their own unique ideas and interests.
5. Experimentation and exploration
My philosophy is to openly encourage experimentation and exploration in both creative development and problem solving in design and layout. I often tell students that failure is an option. More than any of the other points, I believe that this one is probably the most important.
6. Learn from the students
Classroom discussions, experimentation and the students’ creative process have often inspired me and has also energized my own work. Consequently, I continue to learn while teaching.
7. Keep up with technology
The increased use of technology has presented instructors and students with new opportunities and challenges. Technology continues to play an even more important part forming tomorrow’s designer. I fully support the integration of technology and design. Even though I believe it is important to expose the students to these new and exciting technologies, I also believe that it is equally important that the technology does not supersede good design.
8. Invoke excitement in all areas of design
It is my philosophy to maintain a high level of excitement about the profession of design. This includes making students aware of happenings in the design community such as lectures, conferences and encouraging involvement in professional organizations. It also includes creating or increasing the student’s awareness of the importance of design that surrounds us daily.
9. Encourage creative discussion
A very important component of my teaching philosophy is class involvement. Because of the energy and excitement that is generated through group projects, classroom critique and rebate, I strongly encourage classroom interaction. Experience has shown me that a greater level of creativity and individual growth takes place when interaction is encouraged.
10. Experiential learning
Real-world experiences are consistent across all my classroom instruction. I utilize experiential learning through specific projects or through projects for actual clients in advanced courses.
Student learning and achievement are at the forefront of my teaching pedagogy with the goal being that students reach their full potential and are able to obtain the program’s outcomes. It is paramount that my students are prepared for their next step, whether that next step is a career in art or design or post graduate studies.
My career experience in design has several complimentary paths as an educator and designer, which places me in a unique position to be able to promote student learning and achievement and more fully realize new 21st century design skills. Whatever the discipline or course being taught, my instructional methods are primarily driven by student experience. The ultimate goal of my research is to provide the best possible service to the student and continue to grow as a practitioner of design and educator. As a result, students are exposed to the many new frontiers of design and possible career pathways.
As a educator, I believe that the learning experience of each student is a shared responsibility between student and professor.
So student success; whether measured by graduation, direct placement in a job or advancing their education is the direct gauge of how well I have performed as an educator.