My Road to Creativity, 12: Assistant Professor:
I would be lying if I said it wasn’t a little un-nerving to step into a design studio with twenty dubious students. I was given a syllabus for each of the three studios I was teaching and dove in. My major professor had become a friend and mentor and, thankfully, was there to guide me in that first while.
As a teacher, I was expected to do research or some sort of design work of my own choosing. There was little chance for any free lance work in Ames so I began to design and silk screen posters for different events in the Design College. It gave me a chance to initiate and do my own design. I had learned to silk screen in grad school and liked the process. However, I still stumbled with creating anything grteat and some were better than others. Whatever, it kept me actively exploring and designing. I was not what I considered to be a great image maker so my posters tended to be more typographic with bold abstract shapes moreso than any actual recognizable images.
After a year of teaching basic design, typography, and symbology studios, I finished out the year although my student evaluations left something to be desired. The students challenged me as a newbie. I had dealt with much tougher clients and sub-contractors in my construction days and wasn’t cowed, but I was scared to death, hoping it didn’t show. It did and the students smelled blood. I struggled on and I believe, in spite of everything, I imparted good design information and skills whether they knew it or not.
Having only a one year contract, I had put together a teaching vitae and was ready to send it out for teaching positions at other schoolslate that winter but I was offered another year at Iowa State and accepted.
Earlier that spring, my mentor suggested that I consider doing a three week design workshop in Switzerland that was offered through Kent State University to further my education and add to my resume. I got the information on the workshop and with the money I had saved that year of teaching and penny pinching, I could manage to afford the trip and workshop tuition. I decided to go. The University travel agent set me up with all my flights and other travel arrangements. I got my passport. I had only flown four times before when I was in the Navy and never international. But my excitement overcame any nervousness.
I contacted my friend who was in Basil and would meet her after the three week workshop in Rapperswil, just west of Zurich on the shores of Lake Zurich. I left for four weeks in Switzerland in mid-June.