Having been raised in a family invested in skilled labor, trade work, and agriculture, I saw labor as integrating head, hand, and heart. A predisposition for handwork, driven by the mind, combined with a naturally inquisitive nature and an inborn desire to communicate, is what drew me to a profession in the arts. Finding my place in Higher Education was more of a journey. Towards the end of High School, I was fortunate enough to use my developing abilities in drawing and painting to earn an art school scholarship. While in undergraduate school, part of my assigned work-study duties was teaching art in community outreach centers spread across Northwest Washington D.C. While these teaching experiences were far and few between, I found the exchange that would develop between student and teacher inspiring, which sparked my interest in a career in art education. After Undergraduate school, I spent almost a decade building a family with my wife and partner, advancing my studio practice as an artist, and honing my skills in the classroom as a High School Art Educator. Years later, I returned to academia to pursue my Master of Fine Arts degree, with an equal passion for art and teaching as well as a determination to pursue a career in higher education. I find that being a part of a community of learners is eternally rewarding and pushes me to stretch myself both personally and professionally in new and exciting ways.
Using Research in the Classroom
As an art educator, I promote the view that art-making is a form of creative inquiry situated within an established historical and cultural context that requires practitioners to be attentive to both idea generation and technical proficiency. As such, I feel it is my responsibility to develop classes that match time spent on problem-solving and critical analysis with hands-on learning. I approach my classes as both workshop and seminar, combining technical demonstrations, slideshows and project-based learning opportunities.
As an artist, I am highly active in my field having, had the good fortune to see my prints and installations included in many noteworthy exhibitions at respected national and international museums and art centers, including the Center For Book Arts, NY., NY. The Beatrice M. Haggerty Galleries at the University of Dallas, TX., and The Eugeniusz Geppert Academy of Art, Wroclaw, Poland. I have also participated in several residencies with the most recent being hosted by the Akron Soul Train Program in Akron, OH.
I draw on these experiences to build a studio environment that acknowledges the importance of critical thought, technical proficiency, and experimentation. I hope to create an atmosphere of learning that inspires students to ask questions, seek answers, take risks and engage with the material.
I would say, without reservation that my favorite part of the job is the time I get to spend in the classroom. My wish is that my students are moved to continue their exploration of art, actively pursuing additional opportunities for learning and growth. Ultimately, I consider myself a successful teacher when students recognize the predominance of visual culture in their world and the importance of visual literacy in their lives.
Choosing Your Own Path
I believe that Mount Union's Liberal Arts foundation is at the core of its identity and what sets it apart from other institutions of its type. Students at Mount Union are provided a generous amount of space to customize their education and carve out a path that helps them realize their goals.
On the whole, Mount Union is a warm and welcoming place where student interests are placed front and center. I am regularly impressed by the institution's dedication to teaching and learning and appreciative of the supportiveness of the community writ large.
As a Teaching Fellow, I share my time with the Art program and the Integrative Core. While both areas are distinct in their mission and mandate, both are united in the shared goal of helping students find their voice and develop the tools to express themselves well. In the Art Department and the Integrative Core, students will find a broad array of classes and dedicated faculty ready to help them tell their stories.