My teaching career didn’t necessarily start because of an unquenchable thirst for molding young minds, it began the way a lot of people decide on an initial career path: money. What made me want to pursue teaching within higher education was probably becoming a teaching assistant as a grad student, which to be honest I didn’t do with a burning desire to teach really, I did it because of the stipend. But then I found, huh, this is really pretty interesting!
After receiving my undergraduate at Cornell College and Masters of Fine Arts at UW-Milwaukee, I decided to pursue her newfound interest in teaching. I served as an adjunct professor at UW-Milwaukee, Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design, and Carroll University, before realizing that I had a college in my own backyard that was looking for an art professor. My studio and home is a little further west of here in Western Waukesha county and I wasn’t really aware of the 2-year colleges until there was an opening for teaching. I found out about it and thought, ‘This is awesome, I don’t have to go to Milwaukee’.”
The older I get the more comfortable I am with not knowing the answers to things. I started out thinking ‘I’m the one who’s supposed to know stuff’, and maybe at that point the students and I were a little closer in age and in a weird way that made me want to be more of an authority figure.
My time teaching stems from my innate love of art, a subject I’ve explored since early childhood. I constantly search for new ways to explore my field, focusing my visual research on two-dimensional painting and drawing as well as three-dimensional clay models. I don’t think it holds true for all teachers, but I views continual exploration in the arts as part and parcel of my job. Research is the foundation, the backbone of my raison d’etre. Visual research is my research, so if I were not to do that I don’t think I would have business teaching.
With the collegial atmosphere between my faculty relationships, staff relationships, it’s just very supportive. The idea of teaching mostly for a stipend is a distant memory to me. Now, I approach every semester as a blank canvas, hoping to send students away with a simple message: lifelong learning.