Faculty Long Service Awards
10 Years of Service, Interior Design
Paola’s favourite part of teaching is her relationship with her students and helping them grow as designers and discover their own skill set and design process. In her words, she’s just “along for the journey.” She also enjoys the unique opportunity teaching gives her to get invested in such a vast variety of projects at the same time. She describes the mindset shift necessary to being a good teacher, which is counter to our individualistic and proud society. “As a design instructor, you can’t be jealous of your own knowledge… At the bottom of your heart you must want your students to be better than you are.” Paola’s success relies on her students’ success. “It’s kind of like mothering sometimes.” One aspect of Paola’s teaching that shines through is her empathy and flexibility. “If you are kind and tolerant and flexible, your students will give you the best they have.”
15 Years of Service, Fashion Design + Technology
Andhra started as a student in the Fashion Design + Technology program and came back to teach at KPU for a total of 15 years, with a gap in the middle to work in the industry. This gap allowed her to share deeper insights and industry stories with students, including allowing them to learn from her own mistakes. She loves being able to give back from everything she gained along the way as a student and help students reach their own goals. Over the years Andhra has learned to embrace the new things life brings her way and to take the time to really listen to others. “There’s so much you can learn from the others around you if you’re open to that.” She has also learned that school is about so much more than the credential. Graduating, she says, “is just the beginning of opening up to new experiences.”
Andhra’s commitment to KPU, students and the Wilson School of Design as a whole is further evidenced by her appointment as Dean of the Wilson School of Design in 2019.
15 Years of Service, Interior Design
Brenda’s favourite part of teaching is, without hesitation, the people. “The students that come into the program are wonderful. I live for the students. We really work together as a team.” She deeply appreciates the students for what they’ve taught her over the years. “Everyone comes to the table with different personal experiences and different biases… and having the opportunity to discuss things and hearing from people who have a different life experience than I do is very, very enriching.” This continual learning, she says, is what has kept her on her toes, mentally, throughout the years.
20 Years of Service, Fashion Design + Technology
The pandemic has reinforced Mary’s favourite part of teaching at the Wilson School of Design: interacting with students. The drastic change and overall decrease in teacher/student interaction has made her realize how much she misses the casual banter and class atmosphere that’s so difficult to replicate in a fully online setting. Even so, she, like Brenda, stresses how much she has learned from her students while they learned from her. Their unique life experiences teach her something new about the human experience every day. “Everyone has a story, everyone’s gone through something that’s changed them.”
Hats off to these instructors for the years of passion they bring to our school, care they show towards student success, and ability to come up with unique solutions to the challenges of teaching design. It isn’t easy, so to you we say: thank you, we love you, we couldn’t have done it without you.