I love learning. The drive for intellectual growth in the landscape of academia fuels my passion for learning and serves as the premise for my teaching philosophy. It is an honor to educate future scholars and leaders by sharing my knowledge and lived experiences with students inside and outside of the classroom. My position as a faculty and mentor comes with great responsibility that I embrace gracefully. Learning, to me, is a collaborative experience. Thus, I value my students’ insights and lived experiences, and I view it as an integral pillar of curriculum development. I value honesty, integrity, and community. I understand that life’s accomplishments take the effort of a village. It has been a collaborative effort of family, friends, mentors, and professors who have all made tremendous sacrifices by the dedication of their time, energy, and resources that have equipped and empowered me with the strength needed to persevere through life’s journey. These values and principles serve as the foundation of my philosophical approach to life. They also serve as the cornerstone for my teaching philosophy.
Informed by the knowledge and experience I have gained throughout my academic and professional career as a designer and educator, I seek to create an active learning environment where students can freely express their ideas and values through design and meaningful creative projects. As design processes move towards user-centered solutions, I believe design pedagogy can benefit from a similar approach. As an educator, I strive to help students find their voices and develop their identities as creatives. Understanding where students are in their academic journey and giving them the proper guidance needed to achieve growth and development is vital to their success.
I believe students should work independently and collaboratively on various technologically driven and forward-thinking design projects. Thus, emerging technologies such as virtual and augmented reality are new mediums for students to prototype and develop informative design solutions. Furthermore, design students should be encouraged to use these immersive technologies to create meaningful experiences that enable participants to engage in social activities that generate empathy and facilitate community building.
As educators prepare students to take on new roles and responsibilities within society, they should design learning environments and projects that increase students’ exposure to design’s ethical, social, and cultural implications. I believe that it is essential that students have opportunities to collaborate with community organizations on socially focused projects. These experiences are invaluable for the students as it allows them to use their creative skills and expertise to address real-world problems. The project-based model also teaches students about design processes and will enable them to iterate, improve, and respond to uncertainty in a meaningful way. Where possible, design students should be encouraged to take courses outside of their respective disciplines to develop interdisciplinary skills and broaden their social and cultural awareness.
I have always held to the mantra “opportunity changes everything.” I believe every student should have a chance to learn, grow, and apply their creative skills in an active and inclusive learning environment.