February 2019

TEACHING PHILOSOPHY

Download: Portfolio of Student Work // Sample Syllabi

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University of Alabama at Birmingham ARS495 Stories from the Line: Documenting Poverty students listen as Magnum photographer Matt Black gives an artist lecture via Skype on his ongoing project, "The Geography of Poverty," November 9, 2015.

Photography is in the midst of an uncertain, yet exciting, present. Through the shaping of fabricated and found images, deconstructing hierarchies between canonical and vernacular photographs, and engaging with traditional and emergent technologies, contemporary practitioners are employing a wide range of strategies to critically engage with the dilating character of globalized visual culture and examine assumed values in historical photographic discourse. My pedagogical approach enables students to consider the intellectual, aesthetic, and practical implications of this pivotal moment through a dynamic curriculum that actively addresses these issues and connects them to the broader cultural and political conditions shaping our time.

In my classroom, students are challenged to master the craft of image making, approach the reading and understanding of pictures with proper historical and contextual knowledge, and understand the power of photographs to document, reveal, criticize and provoke change. By establishing a firm foundation in current and historical methodologies and teaching within an inclusive, equitable, and diverse environment where students have access to safe, clean facilities outfitted with up-to-date, professional equipment, I provide a platform from which students learn to take risks, develop their voice, and redefine the photographic medium in their own way.

While I encourage my students to pursue the act of making as a way of thinking, I believe that artistic development does not solely occur as a result of making itself. To reach beyond traditional studio classroom models, I incorporate experiential and service learning coursework through single and long-term assignments. This immersive fieldwork and community-based research motivates students to consider their role as thoughtfully engaged citizens as they develop partnerships outside the classroom that yield multi-dimensional, mutually beneficial outcomes based on shared vision and tangible benefits. By acknowledging specific student and community needs, fostering student-community collaboration, and promoting application of theory to “real world” practice, experiential and service learning strategies provide learning outcomes where students analyze, synthesize, and apply key concepts, knowledge, and research methods in new contexts; develop effective oral, written, and visual communication skills; and cultivate independent judgement, reasoning, and decision making skills.

Deep learning and transformational growth is further fostered by combining studio assignments and class presentations with museum visits and multimedia resources including podcasts, websites and online social media applications. To create a classroom culture based on academic curiosity, I draw from a variety of literary and academic texts to augment my teaching and regularly give cross-disciplinary reading assignments in literature, poetry, science, history and journalism. Students are connected to contemporary practitioners through visiting artist programs, Skype sessions, workshops, and internships to prompt dialogue that reaches beyond the classroom and spurs professional development opportunities.

Carefully structured critical reflection intentionally connects students’ creative work with course content, and is facilitated through ongoing conversations, critical writing assignments, and studio critique. Through these methods, students test the strengths and limitations of their work, integrate new experience against existing knowledge, and analyze their assumptions and beliefs in open, constructive dialogue

Ultimately, the object of this dialogue is a creative exchange marked by the success John Henry Newman describes in The Idea of a University: a kind of higher learning that does not cherish “talent, genius, or knowledge, for [her] own sake, but for the sake of her children…with the object of training them to fill their respective posts in life better, and of making them more intelligent, capable, active members of society.”1


1 Newman, John Henry. The Idea of a University. London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1907.


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TEACHING EXPERIENCE:

UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH FLORIDA JUDY GENSHAFT HONORS COLLEGE, 2019–
Visiting Distinguished Professor
Arts & Humanities – The Champion Image: Socially-Engaged Visual Storytelling
USF Provost’s Scholars Program Study Away: Dominican Republic
The Art of Politics: Photography, Propaganda, and Politics (spring 2020)
Looking Beyond Florida Man and Sunsets: Florida and the South in Photographs (spring 2020)

UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA AT BIRMINGHAM, 2013–18
Adjunct Faculty
BFA Exhibition
BA Capstone: Contemporary Art Practices
Special Topics: Camera-less
Special Topics: Stories from the Line – Documenting Poverty (cross-listed with Department of History, Media Studies)
Special Topics: Photography in the South
Special Topics: Neighborhood Studies (cross-listed with Department of History)
Intermediate Photography
Experiential Photography
Beginning Photography
4-D Design Foundations

UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA, 2016
Master of Arts Graduate Thesis Committee
Student: Celestia Morgan

DUKE UNIVERSITY, 2015
Master of Fine Arts in Experimental & Documentary Arts Graduate Thesis Committee
Student: Aaron Canipe

CORCORAN SCHOOL OF THE ARTS + DESIGN, GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY, 2007–13
Adjunct Faculty
Studio Photojournalism Core IV Senior Thesis
Studio Fine Art Photography Core IV Senior Thesis
Studio Photojournalism Core III
Studio Fine Art Photography Core III
Light Studies & Optical Culture
Focus on Photojournalism Pre-college

LAGRANGE COLLEGE, 2004–05
Adjunct Faculty
Documentary Photography
Basic Photography
2D Design
Western Humanities II

TULANE UNIVERSITY, 2002–03
Instructor of Record
Foundations of Art: Photography


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