I am proudly an Assistant Professor in the School of Art + Design at Portland State University. My focus at PSU is on theory, research and writing, and how to incorporate these into the curriculum.
I have taught and developed coursework on:
This course is an introduction to “design thinking,” an area of focus within the design discipline that focuses on two key aspects: cognitions specific to the design process, and using a research-driven methodology to support a creative practice. By exposing students to various working methodologies, they gain an understanding of how the process drives the outcome. Particular focus is given to empathy, qualitative research tactics and divergent thinking.
The above photo is of a final project for Design Thinking by Stefan Perkins.
History of Modern Design
Starting in 2014, I did a survey of graphic design history textbooks and changed the textbook for History of Modern Design. I also incorporated a series of writing exercises to enhance student learning and synthesis of course material. In addition, I created handouts on Information Literacy, citation formats, historical eras, geography and type classifications. The framework and several of the materials I developed for this course are currently being used by Briar Levit.
Introduction to Motion Graphics
This course hadn’t been taught at PSU for a while, so I developed it to include storyboarding, process, historical contexts relevant to motion graphics, kinetic type, and narrative structures. I wrote all projects for the course and I also created a series of technical demos and exercises for the students.
Design in Context: Failure
I wrote and created this course as a topical rotation of themes that can be considered as contexts for a creative practice. Failure being one example. Rather than having a multitude of electives that are topical in nature, this is a single course (entitled “Design in Context”) that rotates out different themes. The failure theme focuses on failure as it exists within architecture, art and design, and how varying our definitions can be. Additionally, I created a coursepack for Failure that includes approximately ten seminal readings.
Research + Theory in Design
This course introduces various research methods and theoretical concepts, and was written for graphic design, art practice and art history students. Questions the course asks include: What are our shared cultural stories? How is meaning made? How does technology influence what we make? Is minimalism better than decoration? What are the different modes of image-making? Why and how not to look at Pinterest for inspiration. What is the difference between art and design? We spend a few weeks on each of these questions.
In the summer of 2016, I gave a presentation at the UCDA Design Educators’ Summit on this course and how to introduce research and theory into a curriculum.
Contemporary Design Projects (Thesis)
We are in the early stages of discussion regarding converting ART 470 from a one-term course to a two-term course. The topics and exercises I developed in Research + Theory (related to myth, semiotics, appropriation, media theory, the nebulous boundary between art and design, and a variety of research methods) will become preliminary work for students’ thesis projects.