The year 2015 finds me teaching Graphic Design at the community college level for 10 years. Within these 10 years I have refined many aspects of my teaching style. However, none as drastic as the refinement which has come about the last 2 years here with ECU and the Master of Science in Vocational Education Program.
My core philosophy remains true, to teach our graphic design students how to best develop visual communication solutions. I believe the solution to this lies in the process. The design process is a foundational element that I build into each project and lesson and one that I strive to have each student to develop their own version of. In addition, my philosophy is one of passion. I want each student to develop a passion for graphic design and creating graphic design. I look for every opportunity I may have to showcase my love for the medium through demonstration of my own work and through the introduction of creatives from the local to international level.
I take great pleasure in getting to know and understand our students as they progress through the program and begin to develop their own design voice. One major objective I have in each course is help our students develop their own design process. As part of project requirements I enforce a basic process of ideation, rough development, and computer development. Critiques are held with each of these project milestones. My goal is to cultivate that design process and to establish a relationship with the collaborative nature of professional graphic design. In driving our students to find their voice it’s imperative that they learn the tools of the trade. Software skills are an essential part of the training but I always maintain that they are simply just a tool and its up the student to best use the tools. I employ a multimedia approach to each class that hopefully engages each learning style we have and allows the voices of professional outside of our institution leave their mark on the students.
Over the course of the last 4 years at Stanly Community College with the help of our learning effectiveness team we have developed a set of course and program objectives to evaluate course effectiveness on a semester to semester basis. The objectives developed for the program speak directly to industry relevant needs seen by me and recommended from our advisory board members. The consistent re-evaluation of industry trends and the successful integration of them within the program is an area of great importance to me and one that I feel is necessary for the program’s success.
This philosophy has been strengthened in the last two years with East Carolina University. My experience with ECU has shown me how to better integrate technology into the classroom, how to better evaluate through clear learning objectives, how to research new directions for the program and simply how to better serve the students in the courses I teach.