Teaching Statement

The Relationship

My teaching philosophy is simple.  I believe that there should be a mutually beneficial relationship between my students and me.  To that end, I have the obligation to present new information and concepts to the student that challenge or expand preconceived ideas, maintain objectivity and professionalism, respond to them in a supportive manner to questions, concerns, and behaviors, as well as treating the student with respect while nurturing their academic and professional development.  Reciprocally, what I endeavor to instill in the students is that they will activity participate in the learning process by receiving, processing, and utilizing new information, find class not to be a task but as an enjoyable opportunity to discuss and take away new ideas in a safe learning environment, and complete assignments on time and of the highest quality possible.  Furthermore, I approach the student-teacher relationship as a collaborative one.  Together the student and the teacher can accomplish more than they can independently, and by collaborating together both have the opportunity to expand their frame of thought more than they could individually.  Through this creative and collaborative process or environment, it is hoped that both the student and the teacher will desire more out of the subject matter, the students will begin to realize their artistic vision, and that inspiration will be instilled in them for continued life-long learning.

Techniques

Generally, I do not feel that I subscribe to any one teaching style per se, though I do try my best to hone my own pedagogical skills at every opportunity when wedding theory with practice.  That being said, I find myself an adaptive instructor.  Depending upon the students’ needs, I may decide to structure the classroom around a lecture, an in depth discussion, an ongoing dialogue, a simulation, or an individual or group project.  In the end, I push for as much hands-on experience as possible, resulting in an increasing amount of self-esteem and self-confidence.  I am not so ridged as to create a formula for my courses and I believe that my student-centered pedagogical style will always be flexible enough so that they can get the most out of the content in the ways or means that are most suitable to them and that they begin to discover their own voice.

Course Content

I currently teach a variety of courses covering all aspects of arts administration.  I enjoy having this diverse teaching assignment as it helps to keep my materials fresh and relevant.  Locating good textbooks is helpful, but they quickly become outdated.  As a professional arts administrator, keeping up with current events and recognizing how they impact the field is of paramount importance.  Having the opportunity to teach these courses helps me to stay in tune with what is happening in the “real world.”  Then, using my own experiences combined with current events, I can keep the discussion relevant for today’s students.  Aside from the material presented, the work that I expect in return is what I consider “professional grade.”  The classroom is indeed a safe learning environment.  Poor writing, for example, can be safely critiqued.  What I endeavor to instill in the students is to consider completing their work professionally today for tomorrow their employer may not be so forgiving.  To that end, I expect quality work from all my students and I spell this out very clearly, as part of my syllabus, so there are no misunderstandings.

The End Product

My educational aspirations are to be that teacher, that mentor they come in to contact with while a student and then want to keep in contact with later as alumni when they want to share their successes and to give an exceptional value to their education.  I do not feel that the student’s student-teacher relationship needs to start and end with the course, but instead it should begin with that first class and should continue indefinitely.  Furthermore, upon our time together, I want to have students as prepared for a career with as much professional grade materials as possible.  It is this continuum of a relationship that I wish to instill in my students.  At the end of the day, I want there to be as many students out there that I can stake claim to and be proud of when they take the leadership reins of cultural enterprises as adaptable, thoughtful, and creative professionals.

The more successes that I can help to create, the better the institution, the better the program, and the better alumni network that is created.  Simply, I want to celebrate the outcomes of the program and the achievements of the student.  With a strong alumni network, the word gets out, resulting in another cycle of incoming students eager to learn.