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Home » News » Multiple IA&D Faculty Secure Coveted 2022 FSU Teaching Awards

Multiple IA&D Faculty Secure Coveted 2022 FSU Teaching Awards

Published May 25, 2022

The Department of Interior Architecture & Design is celebrating the recent announcement of the FSU 2021-2022 Teaching Awards and three IA&D faculty are among the recipients of these highly competitive honors. Congratulations to Associate Professor Jim Dawkins, Assistant Professor Dr. Yelena McLane, and Assistant Professor Stephanie Sickler! Like all IA&D faculty, these award-winning teachers approach their work with highly committed and thoughtful consideration.

A professor seated at a desk gestures to a computer during a conversation with a student.

Professor Jim Dawkins offering a studio critique.

Associate Professor Jim Dawkins secured a University Teaching Award for Outstanding Teaching in the Major, and emphasizes transformation in his pedagogical approach. “My emphasis on a measure of disciplined freedom shapes my attitude towards teaching. It is bound to the notion of craft and clarity. My experience suggests that the moment of clarity is only possible when students consciously engage in their work and when they are completely ‘in the moment’ whether it is in the studio, classroom, or some other place. That moment, brief or prolonged, is the point where a student has the chance to move beyond competence to proficiency and expertise. This is the power a creative soul anxiously seeks – the fuel that catalyzes the additive part of learning which occurs directly or indirectly, overtly, or sublimely; it is the opportunity for kinetic design energy.” Dawkins explains that “my role as a design instructor is to facilitate the moment of clarity and guide creative design energy. I think with the students by actively participating in their design processes, giving them the confidence to discover perspectives or creative thought not previously recognized by the student alone. My goal is to steer the student beyond any notion of boundaries, supposed or imposed, by modeling and applying design behavior each day, bearing evidence for both faculty and students alike that design is an expression of creative potency, the transformation of potential energy into kinetic energy, of being wide awake when others are dreaming.”

Smiling students are seated at desks with board games atop them.

Students in Dr. Yelena McLane’s History II class playing board games they designed that explores various historic eras and design styles.

Dr. Yelena McLane secured a University Teaching Award for Outstanding Teaching in the Major. McLane, who teaches a variety of courses from history and research methods to studio describes that “my pedagogical approach to teaching design stems from the idea that the role of the educator is not limited only to demonstrating how to do something or answering questions. I base my pedagogy on creating exploratory frameworks for students to engage in activities that support their self-awareness, facilitate reflective thinking, and engage their imaginations. Our students are passionate about the profession they have chosen to pursue. In my classes, I strive to harness that passion, focus it, and direct it towards the problems that design practitioners face, from conceptualizing spaces, to building code applications, to selecting furniture and finishes. Another challenge is bridging the perceived discontinuity between contemporary design practices and history. I show students through both the content and related activities that their work after graduation will be informed just as much by history as by their knowledge of building codes or the newest wall finishes or lighting techniques.”

Assistant Professor Stephanie Sickler secured the Foundational Course Excellence Award, acknowledging her role as educator and also facilitator of the first year student experience for IA&D students. Notes Sickler, “I believe that the reviewers acknowledged the creative problem solving and critical thinking skill building that I have brought to our Foundations courses as well as its impact on the success of our students in the major and beyond. Other interior design educators across the country have recognized the success of our redeveloped Foundations sequence and have asked me to advise them in fine-tuning their own curriculum.” Sickler was also the recent recipient of a national award from the Interior Design Educators Council acknowledging her foundation course experience innovations.

These individuals personify the personal, meaningful teaching approach the Department has long prioritized as a means to setting students up for success. Congratulations to our faculty!