M.F.A. Communication Design, New Jersey City University
B.A. Photography, Brooklyn College
I was born in Ottawa, Canada and lived in Montreal, QC during my youth. For the past
20 years, I have made Brooklyn, NY my home. I have been teaching digital design at
the college level since 2001; as an adjunct faculty at Pratt Institute
for 7 years, as well as at F.I.T, NYU, and Bloomfield College. Most recently, I was
a visiting assistant professor in graphic design at Oakland University in Rochester,
MI. Oui, je parle français. My research interest is related to Design for Social Change.
I am a believer that design has the power to promote social change and can have a
meaningful impact towards making our society better. In my spare time, I love to cook,
travel, and be in the company of good friends and academic colleagues.
I was attracted to the University of New Haven by the experiential learning culture
and the fact that the University of New Haven is close to NYC. The opportunity to
recreate the B.A Graphic Design curriculum, and to create a new B.F.A curriculum was
my main attraction.
Please visit my web site: www.gsestudio.com
I believe that teaching design is accomplished by integrating theories of communication
design with real world assignments. In that way, students can draw relevant lessons
from each. By teaching a foundation of communication design theories and concepts,
I focus on creating practical and engaging design assignments that are applied to
projects derived from the world we share, and sometimes turning the assignments into
friendly competitions. I believe that there needs to be complete balance between lecture
and critique. Class lecture is important because it introduces the students to the
theories, concepts and process of design by promoting the importance of both context
and audience. Critique is equally important as it provides students an opportunity
to explain their creative process, as well as defend their design ideas and concepts.
The process of teaching design is based on exposing students to as much design as
possible. Also in this day and age, the integration of technology is important and
integrating other disciplines like literature, geography, philosophy and medicine.
This allows for dialogue regarding common day occurrences as it relates to design.
Engaging students in the history of design is important as well.
I create a teaching environment where my students will do their best by encouraging
them to share ideas and thoughts. While helping each other fortify their strength
while working on a new aesthetic idea or allowing themselves to risk failure. I view
them all as art directors and I am the creative director. Classroom time is divided
by lectures, critiques and studio time, where students are engaged and involved. It
is important to design lesson plans where the goal is not only to instruct but to
engage them in the learning--active learning. The combination of theory and practice
is primordial. I am big believer in classroom critique, where each student must comment,
critic or create a dialogue regarding the work of his/her classmates. I ask my students
to defend their work and explain why they made the design and/or technological decisions
they made. I also spend time conducting individual discussion time with each student
so I can stay abreast of the progress of their assignments and projects. This allows
me to connect with my students on a personal and educational level.
I strongly believe that teaching at its basic core is a partnership, the educator
and the student, the student and the educator, a relationship is born. And sometimes
the role reverse as there is much to learn from our students. By knowing that I can
make a real difference in the lives of my students contributes to my commitment as
an educator. I understand that not all students will become artists or designers so
encouraging all students to connect design with their other courses, interests, hobbies
outside of school and real life experiences is critical. I would expect that years
after taking my class, the accountant, nurse and other non designer/artist professional
remember design thinking principles he/she once learned in my class and apply it to
problems they have to solve in their life. Finally, I would want my students to remember
the beauty of interdisciplinarity and the fact that design can be connected to everything
else in the world in many different ways.