Year Awarded: 2011
College of Arts and Humanities
Department of Film
When I arrived at UCF eleven years ago I believed my primary role as an educator was to prepare students for a profession. My teaching philosophy has greatly changed since then, and my classroom activities and assessments reflect a new and evolving belief that I should learn from my students and that I have a responsibility to help them become better citizens of their community.
I am fortunate to be teaching multidisciplinary art. Having students write about their experiences convinces them that making films is about understanding people, places and points of view. My online tutorials allow students to brush up on their camera and editing skills any time. Students upload rough cuts of their film projects to the Web for individual or peer assessments. The advantage of doing this is that it allows more quality time in the classroom, where students help each other and discuss digital methods or ethical considerations.
The connection between my creative activity and my teaching has never been stronger. Having completed my third feature documentary in three years, I now have many personal examples, both strong and weak, to engage students in a creative process that has a real outcome. The result is that my students view me as a credible coach who has recently been where they are, so they trust me to help them reach their own creative decisions. My goal is to help them discover who they are and what kind of stories they want to tell with their films.