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In lieu of a final exam, students enrolled in visual art classes are required to submit a digital portfolio of artwork completed during the semester and make an oral presentation discussing this work before their peers.

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  • Introduction to Digital Design
  • Graphic Design
  • Advanced Graphic Design
  • Typography
  • Image Manipulation
  • New Media Design & Production (Web & Interactive)


  • Illustration
  • Children’s Book Illustration
  • Figure Drawing


  • History of Visual Communication
  • Diversity & Ethics in Advertising (Honors)
  • Professional Practices in Art

Teaching Philosophy

Graphic Design is a creative process that combines art and technology to communicate ideas. My aim as an instructor is to offer a theoretical and historical knowledge base as well as the practical skills to prepare students for a demanding, yet satisfying, career. Several components must be integrated in the instruction of design:

TECHNICAL: Understanding and mastering digital technology as well as developing traditional hand skills in a variety of mediums.
AESTHETICS: Creating innovative and appealing images.
CREATIVITY: Developing an original and individual artistic voice
COMMUNICATION: Solving problems and conveying the assigned message through verbal, written and visual means.
RESEARCH: Growing a knowledge base through inquisitive and resourceful discovery.

Because the field is vast, I expose students to a wide range of specialties; identity, advertising, packaging, publishing, and interactive media. Service Learning assignments provide an opportunity to work on real-world projects with local non-profit organizations.

The practice of design is constantly evolving, and as an instructor I must keep up with changes in technology and cultural trends. But proficiency as a designer lies not in aptitude with digital media alone. Creativity and aesthetics are skills that can be developed. As an educator, I emphasize the need for critical thinking in order to communicate visually.

Drawing on my experience in the business world, I focus on professional practices, infused with enthusiasm and passion for my subject. As a mentor, I encourage each student to reach his or her potential through goal setting. As an artist I strive to serve as an example of an inquisitive mind and a lover of learning.


Multiple teaching methods are used to reach a variety of learning styles: assigned readings with in-class review, lectures, demonstrations, critiques, internships, lab and studio work, research and individual instruction. Instructional technology is resource to create engaging visual presentations. Real world examples and professionalism are stressed, employing Service Learning in which students work on projects for non-profit organizations.

Instructional Technology
Extensive use of BlackBoard is made for testing, assignments and distribution of lecture notes. Toward to goal of being less wasteful of resources, a paper-less classroom is achieved by using online resources for distributing and collecting materials. Visual samples, art for critiques and demonstrations of software are prepared and shown on a large screen at the front of the classroom. Videos and websites are used to provide additional visual teaching aids

One-On-One Instruction
During scheduled class hours, students are allotted time to work on assigned projects while the instructor provides personal attention to address technological design skill. Because students learn at different speeds, and come to class with widely varying levels of previous experience on software, this answers issues specific to the individual.

Critiques a a vital part of the learning process in the visual arts. Students must identify and articulate what makes a work success and discuss artistic successes or failings using objective criteria.

Graphic Design critiques are be fundamentally different than studio art critiques. Fine art is purely the artist own artistic vision, whereas in design there is a very specific message that must be communicated, and that message usually comes from an outside source or client.

The instructor moderates the critique to ensure it is being conducted appropriately allowing students to focus on vocalizing and validate their opinions. The instructor also keeps the discussion focused on the work being presented, in the spirit of constructive criticism and respectful of subjective opinions.

Research & Writing Assignments in a Visual Art Curriculum
With increased concern on improving critical thinking in higher education,there are great benefits of integrating research and writing into Graphic Design curriculum. Unfortunately in many design programs in recent years, minimal concern is given to developing formal academic writing skills in students.  As a design educator I strongly feel that research and writing assignments are not only underused in graphic design courses, but are essential to a strong professional program.

Service Learning
Service Learning assignments provide an opportunity for students to work on real-world projects with local non-profit organizations. This gives practice in dealing with clients in a professional manner and provides a means to do volunteer work for worthwhile causes. Nearly every class includes at least one service learning project or component.

Independent Study and Internships
As a capstone course, students are required to do a project with a real client or company, with bi-weekly progress meetings with the instructor.

©2014. Anne Beekman – All rights reserved. All images on this site are copyright their original creators and used with permission. No images, text or other components of this site may be reproduced in any form without written consent of the original creator.

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