A Taste of Miami: Mentors, Creative Teams, Award Shows

John Delacruz
Associate Professor of Advertising
School of Journalism and Mass Communications 
San Jose State University

A mentor is a friendly guide who helps a less experienced person by demonstrating positive behaviors. To be effective, a mentor’s role is to be dependable, engaged, authentic, and tuned into the mentee’s needs and limitations. Mentoring is important because students learn from essential knowledge and skills from their mentors whilst also providing an understanding of workplace practices. This is certainly the case in the creative industries.

The creative industries rely on mentorship practices,  they require team-working skills and the ability to learn, support and help others in an increasingly inter-disciplinary environment.  Students at San Jose State University (SJSU) aiming to enter the creative industries have been working on a project with Miami Ad School in San Francisco. Miami Ad School, a portfolio school with campuses worldwide, intensively prepares students to enter the advertising industry as art directors and copywriters. In two years students develop approaches to problem-solving, they develop their craft and become confident communicators of ideas as they learn from experienced creatives at the top of their game. In fact, MAS is guided by an active teaching and learning model where the instructor can be seen as a mentor as much as a teacher.

SJSU students have been included in MAS creative teams on a course that focuses on award show student competition briefs. The aim is to better understand how mentoring can take place within a creative team where, through active learning, undergraduate students can develop new approaches to their own practice as a result of working alongside students immersed in different pedagogies. Will these undergraduates bring a new approach back to their SJSU classes and will their work improve as a result? Expectations and reflections gathered at both the start and end of the exercise will provide valuable insights.

Teaching Sea Changes

Andrea English
Lecturer
Department Of Design
San José State University

How can design education facilitate the relationship between the deepest passions of students and today’s urgent needs? How can design curricula teach students to creatively presence transformation, meaning, and compassion? The BA Senior capstone class at SJSU engages students at the creative intersection of their lives, their work, and the world. Starting with the premise that creativity sources within each of us, students design their “calling intentions” and clarify what meaningful work means to them. They envision products, services, projects, or initiatives that can inspire and influence sea changes. These spring from a deeply authentic place within themselves and address issues including water, human rights, gender equality, and more. Through lectures, workshops, visualizations, and storytelling, they begin to design work worth doing.

This presentation briefly introduces the innovative and integrative Sea Change Design Process® (designed by Lauralee Alben) on which this course is built, and showcases student design projects that result from a semester-long exploration. The student work visualizes highly abstract ideas; leverages personal calling intentions into organizational intentions, offers holistic approaches to solution-finding, and explores the relationship between design and human experience.

Experiments in Building Empathy and Revealing Bias

Rebecca Mushtare
Associate Professor Of Web Design & Multimedia
State University Of New York At Oswego

When left to our own devices, we unconsciously design for the audience we know best—ourselves. Although some traditional-aged college students have had travel opportunities or exposure to diverse cultures and communities, most still have limited life experience, which magnifies this tendency.  If inclusivity is an ethic we want our students to adopt as professionals,  we need to do more than read and talk about empathy and bias in the classroom. These values need to be embedded in our curriculum including how we frame assignments, the way we talk about design during critique, and our evaluation systems.

Overhauling an entire curriculum, or even a course, and starting from scratch is likely not an option for most faculty. Additionally, teaching empathy and implicit bias can be overwhelming for faculty who have not been trained,  and therefore do not have the language to confidently speak on the subject. What we can do, though, is make incremental changes in our classrooms that focus on raising awareness of assumptions we make and how our choices impact our audiences. Small changes can have real impact.

In this session, I will share the successes, failures and limitations of four years of experimentation and tinkering in the courses I teach combined with my own journey to become more aware of my blindspots and biases.