Amazing Teachers

Shannon Chance, Ron Daniel, and Kim McGrath in Dublin last week.

Shannon Chance, Ron Daniel, and Kim McGrath in Dublin last week.

Amazing teachers transform lives. That’s what they did for me at least!

Last week, one of the very best teachers I’ve had in my life–Ron Daniel–visited Dublin with his colleagues from Webster University. Ron is the Director of Academics at Webster’s Geneva campus.

While they were here, we got together twice to reminisce and talk about higher ed.

I didn’t post about this topic right away, because some things are difficult to express into words. This morning, I’m allowing myself to just cover the tip of the iceberg of what I’d like to say….

The best teachers I’ve experienced in life actually just put a good framework in place in for me. Then, they stepped back and let me explore the issues.

The best learning experiences I’ve had in life have happened under the astute guidance of Ron as well as:

  • Wilma Brown (my fifth grade teacher)
  • Liz Lindon and Joyce Martin (my 4-H leaders)
  • Dave Dugas, Eugene Egger, and Bob Dyck (some easy going Virginia Tech professors)
  • Bridget Arvold (my high school geometry teacher)
  • the faculty of higher ed at the College of William and Mary

I am particularly indebted to Ron Daniel (my second year architecture professor and the person who gave me my first architecture teaching job) and Wilma Brown (my fifth grade teacher who gave me my first official teaching assistant role). These two used a Montessori / Bauhaus sort of approach.

They put relevant materials in front of me and let me do my thing.

Wind me up and I’m like the Energizer bunny!

Thankfully, Bridget Arvold was there at precisely the right moment in time as well. In ninth grade, I was struggling through geometry because I had initially been assigned a very poor teacher. Thankfully, I met Bridget and had the sense to change instructors. She made geometry seem fun and logical. Without her, I don’t think I’d have has a solid foundation for becoming an architect.

Teachers like these make learning fun. They gave me the challenge and sense of support needed for me to start learning to explore this big, wonderful world. I thank my lucky stars to have known them.

Sima’s Emerging Manifesto

Sima's emerging vision.

Sima’s teaching philosophy, drawn from the Bauhaus.

Sima Rouholamin delivered an energetic, thoughtful, and inspirational lecture at the DIT School of Architecture last night.  One of the culminating speakers for this semester’s Schools of Thought lecture series, Sima discussed her dissertation work. A facet of her literature review involves the Bauhaus — a natal fit with the theme of the lecture series (Schools of Thought).

Sima brings such energy and vibrancy to everything she does. She’s so very engaged and engaging.

Alongside her dissertation, she’s developing a vision for what DIT’s School of Architecture is and what it can become. Last night’s event provided a way for her to get some feedback on that vision from the community here, and that community replied with keen interest and resounding support.

Regarding the Bauhaus, Sima discussed the emphasis on making and craft — and the connection between play and design. She’ll soon be conducting phenomenographical interview designed to identify the various different ways architects conceptualize design. I hope to help her collect data for the study this spring.