Path to Education
Before I even graduated high school, I found myself with a disposition for teaching. In high school, due to my exposure to digital media outside of school, I was selected to participate in a student-teacher program where I was responsible for delivering lectures on digital media to my peers in exchange for class credit. During this time, I was delivering lectures and assessments for a wide range of subjects from Web and Graphic Design to 2D Computer Animation to Digital Art. I was awarded a state grant to build a graphics arts lab with 20 workstations and a full set of software including Adobe and Macromedia products. From there, our lab partnered with the school district to roll out several web presences for schools across the county as part of the curriculum under my lead.
My enjoyment from teaching didn’t stop there. While enrolled at the Art Institutes, I opted into the Teaching Assistant program where I got to train with faculty members, deliver occasional lectures, and build lesson plans under instructor supervision. This level of exposure to education made me realize how much I value the experience of helping others achieve their goals and obtain knowledge which will impact their lives. Further, it allowed me to get a glimpse behind the scenes of higher education and what it takes to be a valued instructor.
After departing college, I put teaching behind me and concentrated on using my skills in the field. I worked my way up the employment chain into respectable job titles such as Creative Director and Senior Developer. In doing so, I was able to be a part of some really amazing projects in both the start-up and enterprise world. Through all of this, however, I still knew I enjoyed teaching. Luckily, my industry connections allowed me to serve as a specialist lecturer for Nova Southeastern University. I was occasionally invited to come speak on my industry experience and provide insight and guidance into development practices for their Web Development program.
A few years later, a friend reached out to me about a teaching position at Florida Technical College, knowing how fond of my teaching experiences I was. As the opportunity was certainly of interest to me, I decided to speak with the college about the position. Unfortunately, the position didn’t align with my personal goals, so I turned it down. Luckily, I was offered another opportunity with the college as a consultant brought in to review the curriculum and provide my insight. After doing just that, the college decided to keep me around to teach the program in a way that would allow me to continue to operate my business and teach at the same time. My official trek into the world of education had begun.
During my tenure at Florida Tech, the program experienced a huge increase in enrollment, a placement rate jump to all-time highs, and student satisfaction at all time highs. I found myself making a difference in people’s lives, and I again tasted the extreme satisfaction in doing so. When I was given the chance to pursue my master’s degree with a stipend, I quickly jumped on it, knowing I wanted education to be a part of my long-term career path.
I enrolled at Full Sail University in no small part because of my knowledge of the brand, the reputation of the school, and the offering of a MFA in Media Design which I would be able to take with my crazy schedule. While enrolled, I learned a great deal about not only the subject matter, but online education, and what I felt was likely going to be a growing trend in the field. I took my experience at Full Sail and applied it to my own curriculum, sharing insight and suggestions with the faculty at both institutions. I graduated top of my class with distinctions, deep down knowing that Full Sail would not simply be a part of my past.
A year later, Full Sail reached out to me with a teaching opportunity. While I loved my job at Florida Technical College, I felt a certain kindred spirit with Full Sail. The opportunity would allow me to be immersed in a culture of creative brilliance, work with some of the most talented students in the world, and be a part of a legacy of excellence which is evident in the long line of Full Sail graduates. I began teaching in the Web Design and Development degree, lecturing for many courses, and using my industry experience to help continually improve curriculum that stayed at the cutting edge of industry.
Just when I got into the groove of all of this, Full Sail announced the Mobile Development Degree. Again, I heard my calling. What would be more exciting than being on the ground floor of building a bleeding edge degree program in what was, to me at least, clearly the future of media communications. I jumped at the opportunity, helping write the program from the ground up, and now find myself leading a team of 20+ faculty members, delivering one of the most fast-paced and ever-evolving programs in the nation.
I love teaching as much as I love developing, and I am very grateful to be able to do both.
Full Sail University – Department Chair
- Fulfilled responsibilities of “Department Chair” role in the Mobile Development degree, hiring, mentoring, and leading a team of 19 instructors
- Architected and engineered 10 courses for the Web Design and Development and Mobile Development Bachelor of Science degrees
- Authored multiple continuing education courses for faculty and staff
- Served as part of the Final Project team for both WDD and MDV programs, acting as mentor to future graduates
- Lectured in both the Web Design and Development and Mobile Development programs, both online and on campus
- Interfaced with panel of industry experts as part of program advisory board to continually improve the program to meet industry needs
- Lead instructor committees to review and iterate course content to improve the student experience
Florida Technical College – Lead Instructor
- Oversaw the Website and Graphic Design AA degree for all 3 campuses
- Authored the 12 course program curriculum to reflect industry needs
- Increased student retention rates year over year, achieving among the highest rates across the college
- Maintained 70% or greater graduate job placement rate
- Directed all 12 program courses ranging from design, to media creation, to programming and production
- Lead advisory board panel with local employers to ensure program relevance and secure placement opportunity for future graduates
Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale – Teaching Assistant
- Completed TA Program as part of undergraduate studies
- Developed course lesson plans and exams for Advance Authoring Course