[ PEDAGOGICAL STATEMENT ]
My main objective as an educator is to encourage students, both at the undergraduate and graduate level, to become active, autonomous, and critical contributors to their chosen field of research. Both in my current position and in the past, I have taught a wide body of students ranging in majors and research concentrations. My students range from studio art majors to engineering (mechanical and electrical), as well as creative computation, performing artists, and beyond. I strive to inspire my students to explore alternative perspectives, consider potential developments beyond popular trend, and to actively question and participate in a free discussion about the aforementioned. I am committed to the exploration and development of experimental art forms while constantly calling to traditional practices/production and historical contexts, believing firmly in the importance of conceptual framework regardless of the tool set. In the classroom I encourage an informal environment with open dialogue, hoping to prepare students with the necessary vernacular and self-assurance to speak effectively about their work. Thus aspiring to encourage my students to become active participants not only in the artistic and academic communities, but in their larger local and national communities as well. It is my intention that by using this approach, students will seek to become committed participants in providing a much needed dialogue between artistic disciplines, research fields, and promoting public access to various artistic practices.
Today, students find themselves propelled against a serious pressure to focus their studies around an academic tract that will ultimately provide them with a lucrative career following graduation. This pressure can lead them to a path of consuming popular technology and the classes that offer them to enhance their resume proficiencies. While it is important to ensure that students graduate with strong technical dexterity, I believe that it is just as important that they develop broader conceptual and methodological skills that will make them even more uniquely valued as young professionals. I equally emphasize artistic technique and approach within my students’ practices. I believe firmly in instilling strong visual literacy, eminence in both verbal and written communication, technical mastery, and assisting and mentoring students who are interested in conveying their ideas and convictions through artistic practice, regardless of their chosen medium.
Theoretically and conceptually, I am interested in offering students a wide range of texts and practice based examples of contemporary and historical philosophers, theorists, artists, collectives, and other creatives to further their understanding of how to conceive of / execute as well as deconstruct progressive conceptual framework strategies. Moreover, it is important to me that students have a historical and current understanding of the creative climate in relation to postmodernism, post structuralist theory, as well as New Media histories.
Teaching in light of the digital age in which we exist, calls for the insertion of a process of recurring assessment both of my students’ progress and my curricula and practices as an educator. I strive to continually consider how I can stimulate students to think independently, to be self-motivated, and remain culturally engaged both in their academic and local communities beyond graduation. I pride myself in entering any instructional position with an openness and inquisition towards my students and their ideas as well as towards subject matter being introduced. When designing a curriculum, I always strive to foster an environment that urges students to discuss their work, ask questions, and explore unconventional approaches as often as possible. By practicing these notions in my own work, I hope to inspire students to take risks, trust their instincts, acknowledge failures when they occur, and to examine them as points of departure towards the overall progression of their artistic, academic, and personal callings.
[ DIVERSITY STATEMENT ]
Diversity can be addressed both inside and outside of the classroom within an institutional structure in a multitude of ways. I prefer to provide a framework on my perceived notions of diversity in regard to the following points: interacting with a broad range of students in the classroom, how diversity is addressed in my teaching methods, styles, and material, how my personal background has equipped me to situate myself within a culturally diverse group of students and peers, and how diversity functions within my own work and research.
In terms of teaching and mentoring, my courses and daily interactions encompass a broad range of individuals with different research and major declarations. One of my main objectives as an educator, regardless of the setting, is to encourage students to engage in an open and free dialog about their personal research interests with one another. I encourage collaborative working environments. I teach students who range in concentrations from studio arts, computer science, engineering, biology and beyond. I actively work to engage all of my students via in texts, practitioner examples, and various theoretical discourse dependent on the course / advising. I also encourage students to attend public lectures, exhibitions, performances etc. when applicable. I also contribute to divisional choices for our visiting scholar series and am adamant about visitors who approach their work and research through many avenues (materially, conceptually, and theoretically). I find it critical that students are able reference examples of various forms of diversity in terms of research and creative based practices. Materially, I encourage the same type of broad approach in my courses. My students are exposed to a wide range of materials, techniques, approaches, and machinery to help aid them in the production of their creative assignments. My courses are set in a partial seminar style to allow for visual and textual references and in depth discussion that is then followed by technical instruction. This allows them to build a verbal repoire with one another and to actively encourage them to be verbal contributors outside of class.
I also frequently consider the diversity within my own research and artistic based practice. In terms of theory, concept, history, materials, and technique, I draw from a wide range of ideas rooted in conceptual art, physical sciences, and both traditional and emergent technologies to produce my work. My work aims to reach a broad audience and speaks to not only those who are artists but hopefully acts as a bridge between various areas of study both on and off campus. I actively seek to engage to the public in discussions about my work through lecture and workshop demonstrations that range in collaborating with outside institutions who have participants who range in expertise, interests, age, and cultural backgrounds. I welcome these experiences to further engage in dialog about my work outside of a strict university and contemporary art umbrella. Because my research and creative practice functions to make connections between various concentrations and areas of research, my hope is that students and colleagues see my efforts as another example of a functioning way of existing and contributing to a diverse society beyond the University.
Recognizing the cultural diversity of my students and fellow colleagues is both a core value to me in regard to functioning within the educational structure as well as at large within my local/national communities. As a woman who is half african american and caucasian, I come from both an ethnically and culturally diverse background that may be similar or different than my students and peers. It is critical to me that all students and fellow colleagues observe our diverse backgrounds, personal experiences, values, world views, genders, age, religion, language, abilities/disabilities, sexual orientation, gender identities, socioeconomic statuses and geographic region etc. as critical elements that allow us to work together towards creative ideas and accomplishments as a larger body made up of a wonderfully varying group of individuals. The reality is that students will move forward from any educational system and enter into a world that is increasingly pluralistic. I strive to create environments and situations that prepare students for being active participants both individually and communally to enrich their communities, be it academic or beyond.