Teaching Philosophy/Personal Statement
For students to be motivated to learn, I feel they need to know that diverse ideas, emotions and disciplines are all interrelated... and that they all are related to their life. If students understand that the information in any given discipline is only artificially removed from reality, and that life is not divided into subjects, they make more connections and become more active agents in their own education. They move from “being taught” to “learning.”
I also believe people learn more easily when they are relaxed and feeling positive. These positive feelings in the student are often a result of surprise of one sort or another. I recall one of my instructors in a gorilla suit calmly discussing Freud, and another loping around the classroom with an umbrella demonstrating the storming of the Bastille. How could I forget?
I usually try to accomplish this surprise by the outlandish juxtaposition of words and images; but I also use gestures, furniture, improvisational dance or even the occasional prop if it comes to hand. I try to provide connections from the known to the unknown via the unexpected. I never want to let my students leave my classroom with all their preconceptions completely intact.
To me, creating connections and positive feeling in the classroom is as much a part of my role as an instructor as conveying the specific facts in the curriculum. I feel I can create this kind of feeling by my example as well as by my words, and I do not shy away from expressing my own honest emotion in the classroom when appropriate. I feel that my students benefit from this, as it gives them permission to laugh or even blink back tears sometimes.
I know from my own educational career, that these are the learning moments and these are the life connections that will be remembered long after the “facts of the lecture have been dumped from short term memory. And if the instructor is fortunate, these are the moments that will motivate the next generation and become part of their philosophies.
MFA Mixed Media 1993, Bradley University, Peoria IL
BFA Printmaking 1990, Rockford College, Rockford IL
Previous Teaching Experience
Monmouth College, Monmouth IL
Bradley University, Peoria IL
Carl Sandburg College 2009 ICCTA Faculty of the Year Award
Kotteman Endowed Scholarship in Sculpture
Research Excellence Grant Bradley University 1
MFA with Distinction
BFA was Summa cum Laude
Phi Kappa Phi