When students ask Dan Bogaard which major or career path they should choose, he suggests the Friday night test. He challenges students to identify what it is they like to do on a Friday night without somebody there to interfere with their decision. Those people who find a way to work with that will ultimately be happy.
“I used to just screw around with multimedia and building Web pages,” says Bogaard, an associate professor of information technology in RIT’s B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences. “That’s when I realized, maybe I should do that.”
But it took Bogaard a little while to land in Web application development. Between a staff photographer position at the George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film, running RIT’s photo cage and working with digital imaging at Kodak, he has held quite a few jobs. Still, at each position he always seemed to find a teaching opportunity on the side.
“I taught classes in platinum and palladium printing while at the Eastman House, large-format photography at the Genesee Center for the Arts and Education Community Darkroom and a few classes as a graduate assistant at RIT,” Bogaard says. “Throughout all my past jobs, the most fun I’ve ever had is when I’m teaching.”
Today, Bogaard serves as a faculty advisor for the Web development minor and teaches a number of courses in information technology, including Web client-side programming and Web client-server programming. He explains client-side programming as essentially what the user sees and interacts with on a website or app.
“Five years ago I created the Web client-server programming course, which combines the front-end engineering of client-side with the back-end, where your database depository is located,” Bogaard says. “Security is important with this and it helps bring the whole picture together in this class.”
Bogaard is a member of World Wide Web Consortium Web Application Security and Scalable Vector Graphics groups, where he keeps up with new technology and helps write the future specifications of the field. He also helps to shape the future of the Web through research at RIT and as an outside consultant.
“I bring a lot of my consulting back to the classroom to help students realize how intuitive development needs to be,” Bogaard says. “I tell my students, if it doesn’t make sense to your mom, it isn’t going to make sense to anyone else.”
Outside of the classroom, Bogaard loves spending time with his wife, Leah, and their children Cole, Hayley and Kiera. When he’s not shuffling the kids between sports practices and music lessons, Bogaard enjoys getting out to white-water kayak.
“When we found out I won the Eisenhart Award, the whole family was very excited running around the house and screaming,” Bogaard remarks. “Every once in a while the kids say, ‘I can’t wait to take a class from you, Dad.’”
For the first time, Bogaard says he doesn’t see himself going in a new direction.
“I never get bored with teaching,” Bogaard says. “That must be why it’s the longest job I’ve ever had.”