Amy Huber, associate professor in the Department of Interior Architecture and Design, recently received the Florida State University Outstanding Teaching in The Major Awards (Undergraduate) for the 2020-2021 Year. Huber teaches upper-division Studio courses where students confront complex projects such as healthcare, retail and workplace projects and develop design solutions that engage their skills.
“I have always known Ms. Huber to be an engaging teacher, putting forth extraordinary and effective efforts on behalf of her students,” said Jill Pable, chair of the Department of Interior Architecture and Design.
The University Teaching Awards program recognizes faculty for excellence in undergraduate and graduate teaching, awarding each recipient with a $2,000 prize. Recipients must be outstanding in the many aspects of teaching which contribute to successful teaching and learning.
Huber teaches many of the complex skills to upper-level design students to prepare them for working in the field of interior architecture and design including space planning, commercial product specification, building codes analysis and application. She also teaches students significant pre-research methods that will enable them to understand client needs and the opportunities and constraints of various design jobs.
In Huber’s Studio 4 senior course dedicated to healthcare and retail design, she has partnered with external groups such as Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare primary care as well as the FSU College of Medicine to provide students very real project parameters and buildings within which to do their work. Over 17 physicians, nurses, staff and FSU College of Medicine have engaged with students and reviewed their emerging solutions, providing valuable feedback. Huber also takes students on multiple site visit trips to make the projects tangible in a real-life setting. In the most recent academic year, faced with pandemic restrictions, Huber elevated her efforts of student engagement by creating an entire healthcare design mentor program built on her personal connections with sixteen healthcare design practitioner leaders from across the country, each mentoring two students in their project. She successfully developed guidelines and schedules that led to group shares of mentor comments and ultimately the attendance of many mentors at the students’ final presentations.
“It is rare indeed to witness such an extent of effort put forth to ensure student positive experience and career success and I cannot overstate the importance of this relevant and current feedback on the students’ experience and also the networking value these contacts mean to students,” said Pable. “Such prominence among design industry leaders enhances the positive reputation and reach of our Department—which in turn assists students that we will assist in years to come. What’s more, many mentors were so impressed that they will continue their engagement in the future.”
For the student’s second Studio 4 project, Huber raised student awareness of local problems and needs such as homelessness, youth mentoring, outpatient recovery, arts performance venues and similar issues, challenging the students to rethink a big box retail building shell, transforming it into a hub of support for Tallahassee residents across the socioeconomic strata. As future practitioners in industry, this exposure to the importance of pro bono work is a fundamentally important value for students. Ms. Huber collaborated with the Department of Sociology as well as City of Tallahassee officials who offered feedback on the resulting projects.
Huber’s students have gained recognition for their projects with both FSU and externally. Her students have recently won first place awards in the Retail Design Institute National Student Competition as well as the American Society of Interior Designers’ North Florida Student Awards. A presentation on these projects also garnered a People’s Choice award at FSU’s Digitech conference.
Huber leverages design related technologies and advanced communication methods, helping students realize their career and research goals. Prior to teaching she was a project designer at Gensler in Denver creating award-winning large corporate offices and airports. She is a LEED AP BD+C accredited professional, Construction Document Technologist, and an NCIDQ-certified designer.