Pedagogical Philosophy

I combine a passion and joy in teaching with a philosophy that is firmly grounded in a learner-centered approach.  The experience of designing innovative curriculum and assessing its effectiveness in the context of my professional teaching experience has given me a real-world perspective on these issues and the ability to use the best of both traditional and new practices for course delivery. 

There are five core aspects that inform my teaching: 1) Supportive communication among students and faculty; 2) Development of learning community and facilitation of cooperation among students; 3) Facilitation of a learning environment inclusive of difference, cultural diversity, multiple perspectives, diverse talents and diverse ways of learning; 4) Development of an active learning environment through hands-on projects that provide an understanding of theoretical concepts through practical application; 5) Accountability and responsibility to learning at the level of the student

The learning process is placed at the core of the design of learning environments and I endeavor to remain aware that there is both a learner and a teacher in all of us. I believe that these reciprocal tasks comprise the intellectual process that enables both our own personal growth and our ability to inspire the same in others. As a facilitator of learning my goal is to foster a positive environment in which students feel valued, respected and encouraged to share their perspective, to teach and learn from each other. I continually strive to improve my teaching through soliciting feedback from my students; by attending teaching workshops, seminars and conferences; from discussions with colleagues (formally, or informally); and through reflection on my teaching practice; and, most importantly, by putting what I learned through these processes into action.

I see the role of teaching and mentorship in providing insights into, and understanding of, interrelationships across complex conceptual, creative and technical processes and problem solving.  In students I value the individual voice and support the development of their successes and accomplishments.  In the studio art context I strive to ascertain the resources latent in each individual and work to help the student realize these in the course of their development.  This involves, particularly at the senior and graduate levels, providing individualized examples, content, and instruction tailored to the learner.  In the context of complex media art training I encourage learners to exercise these skills in a collaborative context.

Teaching Goals & Strategies

To communicate an understanding of course content;

To enable a learning environment that supports acquisition of skills and encourages each student’s personal growth and development.

To facilitate an environment that is conducive to learning — a place where students can immerse themselves in a subject or discipline as they assimilate a body of requisite information, concepts, and skills. 

To empower students to take ownership of their own learning

To develop skills that will enable students to become lifelong learners.

To develop skills in critical thinking; to look, listen and observe critically; critically evaluate fine art and its associated literature; solve problems; collaborate; cooperate; analyze and synthesize information;

To encourage diverse talents, cultural perspectives and diverse ways of learning;

Instructor-Student Rapport

Technique and a facility with tools and materials serve the development and execution of concepts, which are further supported by theoretical and historical contextualization. The design of learning activities that are both challenging and relevant to students’ future aspirations are focused on an application of learning through studio practice and some form of project or problem-based learning.

Students are more comfortable engaging in a variety of problem-based pedological methods when they understand why any given technique is used.  Students are also more receptive to feedback when they understand the reasoning behind its inclusion in the process. Being open to suggestions from students and available for discussions with them reinforces that their opinions are important and that their learning is the primary focus of my teaching.

When learning is internalized learners see their knowledge and skills develop through meaningful learning assignments. This is supported by careful design of activities analogous to the iterative process of learning and including reflection on practice and theoretical concepts through hands-on application.  My objective is to build a learning community that strives for success while allowing and recognizing false steps as valuable to the learning process — fundamentally, learning to learn as a lifelong skill.

The integration of assessment and good instructional design forms the supporting structures for effective learning. Well-articulated learning objectives communicate the knowledge and skills students can expect as outcomes of the course. They give purpose to instruction and provide the focus for the design of learning activities, experiences, materials, assessments, feedback techniques, and are an inherent part of a consistent learning environment. The evaluation of students must match our intended learning objectives. The development of high order thinking skills such as the ability to synthesize and analyze is a key learning objective of higher education. I strive to create evaluation methods and techniques that assess that which we wish our students to learn.