I worked as an adjunct professor at Rider University in the Communication and Journalism department and the Film and Media Studies Program. I love teaching media theory, multi-media production and critical analysis. As a creative director and visual storyteller I worked within every business segment with top Fortune 500 companies including: fashion retail, finance, pharmaceutical, real estate development and technology, as well as nonprofits and policy think-tanks. I often integrated the real business world into my coursework and am an early adopter of emerging media technologies, incorporating skills needed to ready students for the current business culture.
I am a strong believer in engaged learning and encourage my students to think critically, stimulating them to be their absolute best. I am passionate about sharing knowledge and experiences with students and enjoy seeing them develop their own media analysis and creative content skills, both independent and collaboratively. I am comfortable both in the traditional lecture or lab classroom, as well as Blackboard and Canvas online platforms.
At Rider University, the online "Canvas" environment can be flexible and engaging, especially when students collaborate in teams. They discuss their favorite movies and television shows which allows complete freedom within the coursework to cover any media examples for comparison and contrast within the context of each week's texts. When covering fandom we discuss current movie franchises like Batman, Harry Potter, Fast & Furious, as well a long-time media enterprises with Star Trek, Star Wars and The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Students develop personal media journals where they analyze their own media usage incorporating current television shows like American Idol, Scandal and the Walking Dead to consider whether they are passive or active consumers of media. Much of the course integrates the concept of the "public sphere" and "audience measurement" and students compare and contrast historical media with current media examples while examining commercials, theatre, news, gaming, movies, radio, Internet, and social media. Students enjoy a Facebook observation assignment where they analyze audiences for pages like Old Spice and Humans of New York to consider whether Facebook users truly have agency with their public engagement. Issues of net neutrally and privacy come into play with a "digital shadow" assignment.
Publication Design, COM 212 is a foundation level, graphic design course at Rider University in the Communication and Journalism department. Rider's reputation lies in the strength of its business school approach, and in teaching this course I apply the same sensibility. The challenge presented is that while some students are graphic design majors, many major in journalism, digital media, broadcasting, public relations, event planning and communications studies. It makes for a tremendous difference in skill level and requires the ability to teach a diverse student population, some who don't understand the need for the course. However, after a few weeks they begin to recognize what an asset communication design is in our visual society. By midterm, students learn how to research products and services, develop critical thinking and observation skills and utilize creative processes needed to generate new ideas through brainstorming and collaboration. These important skills should prove to be influential no matter what field they land in after graduation.
One of the projects that students seem to enjoy the most is editorial design. By the end of the semester, many find they have learned how to put together a solid multi-page design project in InDesign. Using mainly my original photography, they design a new masthead, cover, table of contents and an editorial spread.
Understanding the principles of good typography is essential to the foundation of graphic design. Early in the semester we cover typographic treatment, but also consider the voice of typography and how it affects branding. Through this project, a 6"x6" block is created where the student must use a serif and a sans serif font. While trying to brand themselves through the use of different letterforms, students begin to understand how to convey a brand.
This project has been refined over the years, but it provides a 3-stage project that begins with understanding the creative process and ends in a final presentation where students explain how they've developed their brochure and provide feedback to each other. Toll Brothers is an award-winning real estate corporation with many projects in the tri-state metropolitan area. While the brochure project may be an ambitious entry-level endeavor, students rise to the occasion and develop strong examples. When I first began teaching the course every student had a Toll Brother's house on the front cover. It became obvious that in order for students to grasp the concept of "standing out from the crowd" they would need to better analyze the company's products and services to effectively show the message through conceptual visual storytelling. Students not only learn about designing a multi-page brochure but, also the core principles of idea generation, advertising concepts, image selection and strong headlines—all in one project. Through the creative process, students develop sophisticated cover visual stories with interior lifestyle spreads that illustrate how print can be successful sequential storytelling. Many students come away with a solid portfolio project that provides them with team collaboration, strategic concept development, the ability to speak articulately using design terminology and reveals what they've learned throughout the course—making them more confident with their new found skills.
Early on in teaching the course I had teams collaborate on varied subjects, from the Grounds for Sculpture, to the World Wildlife Fund. Eventually I refined the coursework and conflated advertising pedagogy into a multi-page print project.
I have worked with youth through various summer programs in Asbury Park, Matawan and Newark to help them collaborate in team projects including poster collages, photography and short videos to communicate about life in their communities. I was awarded a Media Literacy Education Award from the National Association of Media Literacy Education (NAMLE) for my efforts facilitating you and adults in analyzing and making media. The NAMLE Media Literate Media Awards recognize people, programs, initiatives, or organizations that have raised the visibility of media literacy. Past award honorees have included Jon Stewart, The Daily Show, Bill Moyers and NOW, Howard Kurtz for his Washington Post columns and CNN show, NPR’s “On the Media”, Van Jones, Esq., Executive Director of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, Lawrence Lessig, Professor of Law at Stanford, founder of the school’s Center for Internet and Society, and Chair of the Creative Commons Project, and Linda Ellerbee, Nickelodeon and Lucky Duck Productions.
My syllabi is available upon request.