Teaching Philosophy

As a design educator, I see my role as a facilitator more than a teacher. While I am there to instruct and guide the students along their journey, I need to give them space to create, fail and succeed in problem-solving as they learn the principles of design and animation. I hope to give students permission to experiment and grow while working on projects. I am presenting them the opportunity to take multiple paths toward the project’s outcome by facilitating an open creative environment. Sometimes the solution will be successful, and other times it will miss the mark, but in each project, the students will have the opportunity to learn from their decisions.

I strive to be honest with students about the quality of their work, so they will learn to be honest with themselves. My honesty with the students is an ongoing process for the duration of their time with me. It does not benefit the student for me to sugarcoat the feedback I offer on their work. That is not to say that I am harsh in my critiques, but I am straightforward with them and to the point. When I offer feedback on a project, I do so politely and respectfully. I also strive to be as objective as possible when critiquing a student’s work. In addition to this honesty, feedback cannot be complete without offering solutions to the problem. By providing solutions to the issues in a student’s work, I demonstrate how to think critically about their work. This critical thinking builds the problem-solving skills needed to succeed in the workplace.

I focus on teaching the technical and conceptual aspects of design and animation. A project may be technically strong but lacks any conceptual understanding, and vice versa. As designers and animators, students need to be aware of how to best approach their work and develop a process that affords them a solid foundation to create work with technical proficiency while being conceptually strong at the same time. Learning the basics and building from the ground up for design and animation makes the students better prepared and teaches them to think critically about their work. I strive to provide students with a solid foundation in the principles of design and animation that will suit them in the real world once they graduate. Whether a student is working in an agency, in-house, or freelancing, having a process will save them time and many a headache.

In all of my teachings, I try to incorporate real-world projects as much as possible. By teaching students how to work with budgets, project scopes, and communicate with clients about the projects, they learn valuable skills that they will face every day once they work in their chosen profession. Having a system also creates the opportunity to work with others on a project and wear different hats within the framework of the project. The student may have to be a project manager, producer, art director, designer, animator, or a combination of these roles when they enter the working world. They will need to know how to communicate with everyone involved to make the project succeed.