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Management Leading Programs page 4

 
 

Hiring New Faculty
In hiring new faculty, the requirements of the position will dictate to a large extent how and where to find applicants. If the person is to be used at the introductory level, it is wise to select someone from a strong pedagogical background or someone who has an established record teaching at the beginning level. Too often, administration stresses the need to hire someone with a professional reputation, especially a Head. It is assumed that anyone successful in the profession will be equally successful in teaching. This is often a false presumption. If a person is needed to teach at the Senior level, finding a person with good work experience and having values consistent with program objectives is a logical choice. Frequently there are professionals who welcome a change of career and they have valuable experience to pass on to students. Looking for someone with special expertise such as typography, letterform, computers, or photography is equally suggestive of where to look. Programs with outstanding reputations in specialized fields are also good sources.

Some programs rely on graduates of their own program as teachers. I have done this myself on several occasions and there are advantages. Graduates are familiar with the curriculum and program, they are a known quantity and their adjustment is relatively smooth and quick. Yale has relied on hiring graduates more than any other program within the scope of my experience, and they have been reasonably successful with this practice. However, there can be distinct disadvantages to the practice of hiring graduates, but it is best to avoid this practice except under unusual circumstances.

Graduates must have meaningful experiences between graduation and the time they return such as graduate school, professional employment or teaching experience at other institutions. No matter how talented the person, it invariably is a mistake to hire a graduate to teach in the same program without intermediate experiences.

I have found that running ads in journals advertising an open position is the most wasteful and unproductive procedure for hiring a new instructor. Equal Opportunity Employment regulations force this practice on every program seeking new faculty. My position on Equal Opportunity Employment requirements is that my first responsibility is to the students. At the same time, I am sympathetic to the objectives of affirmative action for women, minorities and veterans, but I will not recommend them in place of a more qualified candidate. I know of situations where upper administrators have mandated to search committees that a recommended candidate must be a Black or Hispanic female and no other recommendations will be accepted. This is wrong. It twists the intent of affirmative action, it sends the wrong message to search committees and it can have serious impact on the quality of instruction. I have never hired a new faculty member as the result of an ad.

What has worked best for me is to identify someone I know who is teaching or someone a faculty member knows, whose work and teaching effectiveness are established. These individuals are contacted to determine their interest in moving, and if so, they are encouraged to make application. Another approach is to contact those people in teaching and professional practice whom I respect, and ask them for recommendations. These individuals are contacted to find out if there is interest in teaching, if so, they are requested to make application. If there is no success with the first two procedures, I look for Graphic Design programs that in my opinion are outstanding and call the Head for recommendation of recent graduates who might be interested in teaching.

Sound programs in Graphic Design are generally built on a strong pedagogical base with a structured curriculum. Graduates from this type of background make the best teachers in my opinion because they understand theory, sequence, standards and they are effective teachers. There are many talented designers who have succeeded in practice that came from weak educational backgrounds. These individuals tend to operate on an intuitive basis and they experience difficulty verbalizing about design or articulating criticism of student work. No matter how talented, the intuitive designer usually does not function well at the introductory level, but they might contribute at advanced levels.

One of the least tapped sources for Graphic Design teachers and program leadership is women. This is even more important today because most Graphic Design programs enroll fifty to seventy percent female students. Yet, there are still far too many all male Graphic Design faculties. In recent years, more women have been hired as teachers, but there are still too few women as Department or Program Heads.

Hiring minority representatives is a much more complex problem. The pool of highly qualified minority designers is small, and they are usually more interested in professional practice because of the difference in remuneration between working and teaching. There is no question but what minority teachers are valuable and in demand today because of the numbers of minority students.

Whenever a minority student performs well, understands the program and has all the qualities to be a successful teacher, I always discuss with them the good they could do in education. My thought is that an internship program in teaching for qualified minority graduates with potential and interest in education would move more of them into teaching. The principal consideration is the quality of program chosen for internship and the length of time spent as an intern.

What I look for first in a candidate is their values what is important about design to them? What do they stress in evaluation of students? Education is built on value judgments from grading to criticism of student work.

I have never been interested in prima donnas as they usually are a divisive element in the faculty and have difficulties working with colleagues. Faculty members working together is extremely important to the success of the program and learning experience for students. Maturity or sense of responsibility, dedication to education and students are equally desirable qualities in a teacher.

Staffing for Graphic Design
Graphic Design is a multidisciplinary program and requires a number of instructors with a variety of expertise. Teachers must cover both theoretical and professional studies; this may demand experience in basic design, letterform, drawing, color, systems, communication, typography, photography and computer graphics. There are technical requirements in photographic processes, video or film, typesetting, printing production and computer-aided design. The educational requirements for a credible program in Graphic Design entails four to six faculty members for a program with approximately one hundred students. Even smaller programs require at least four teachers because of the range of course content.

There is a tendency in many institutions to over rely on part-time instructors and this seldom works to the best interests of students. If the program is located in or adjacent to a major professional community where recognized professionals can be brought in to teach, it can be beneficial for students at advanced levels. However, many programs are in outlying areas where the pool for part-time teachers is small or the quality of professionals is not consistent with educational objectives. The balance between tenured, tenure track, contract and part-time teachers should be a serious concern.

There are far too many Graphic Design programs at state universities advertising a program as being professional that is woefully understaffed. There is no excuse for this happening with such regularity. If the university represents itself as having a professional program in Graphic Design, then it has the responsibility to provide adequate staffing and other resources.


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