I recently finished up my time as head of the graphic design program in the School of Art at the University of Arkansas. As one of the OG of the department school now, I’m grateful for the amazing changes and additional faculty I’ve seen in the years since I arrived in 2005.
A professor in a standard, non-administrative position basically has three jobs: research, teaching and service. It usually breaks down to 40%, 40%, 20%, respectively.
I love working with my students of all backgrounds and cultures, to prepare them for an exciting and fulfilling career in design. It’s great knowing that a strong and burgeoning job field is waiting for our graduates of our Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design degree. I always attempt to engage with a community group, such as a non profit, and have worked with many through the years such as Pagnozzi Charities, Chase Family Foundation, Children’s House of NWA, Northwest Arkansas Women’s Shelter, Canopy NWA refugee resettlement and many others.
I typically teach the following courses:
This is one of my favorite courses as we help prepare the students to be successful out in the career field. We cover personal branding and preparing portfolio materials for interviewing, while also discussing trends and happenings in the world of design, as well as take a field trip to a design agency once a week. One of my favorite parts of my job is linking up interesting students with interesting design jobs.
User Experience (UX)
This course involves understanding a user and then building an app or other digital experience to solve pain points. The students do primary and secondary research, work through visualizing the results of the research and creating a series of screens in wireframe and higher-fidelity forms.
When I teach this course, simply put, each student creates a responsive custom WordPress template system from user interface design in Adobe XD, Sketch or Figma all the way up through coding in a code editor such as Brackets or Atom.
I have also loved teaching Typography, Design Tools and Concepts, and Motion Design.
My research lately has led me to collaborative projects with New York partners in relation to impact investing (environmental, social, governance), as well as continued collaborations with agencies around the country and here in Northwest Arkansas on identity design and web development.
I have successfully completed strategy and design work for both established organizations and new startups, in spaces such as medical, political, real estate, food truck, non profit, and many other industries, creating authentic and unique visual language alongside established design conventions. Also teaming with several accomplished and influential design and marketing agencies in New York City, Arkansas and Arizona, I complete strategic design work that includes organizational review, identity roll-out and branding monitoring, and design production work in print, information architecture, responsive web development, video production and motion, and other marketing such as copy writing, SEO, blogging and social media management. For DOXA, in particular, I created a lean and successful methodology for interacting with digital clients, project frameworks and outlining collaborative software and design and production implementations. With TruNorth Strategy in New York City I recently wrapped a collaborative responsible investing project with partner in Vienna and New York City, with bi-lingual web messaging.
As part of my 40/40/20 arrangement, I serve on school committees and engage in a lot of other service to the students and faculty.
As graphic design program director, I oversee the financial strategy, faculty engagement, curriculum assignments, design industry partnerships, new building space planning, and student advising success. A team of the highest-level faculty with me makes it all work. During the past few years, I have successfully shepherded the Graphic Design program’s participation in the re-imagined University of Arkansas School of Art (formerly a department) after the unprecedented gift of $120 million from the Walton Family Charitable Support Foundation. This has involved hiring from three faculty up to what will be 11, a greatly increased budget, and other exciting growth management duties.
Along with two esteemed faculty members, I collaborated on the creation of a new and contemporary Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design degree, comprised of many new sequential course offerings, professional internship connections, a student cohort system, and a complete re-imagining of the students’ studio spaces and instruction environment, as well as a mandatory laptop and software requirement. We are presently creating a Master of Design in Collaborative Futures degree (MDes), to launch in Fall 2022.
I, along with the design team and agency partners, was instrumental in establishing a chapter of the main design professional organization AIGA, which as become the fastest-growing chapter in the country.
I also serve as the liaison between the University Career Development Center and the School of Art’s graphic design program. I relay information learned from the University CDC staff representative about career opportunities, campus events and employers to our students and faculty, and assist with collecting graduation placement data from students.