Dr. Nathaniel B. Walker, IV


Master the details and you'll master the craft. Dr. Nathaniel B. Walker, IV , Interior Design Instructor , The Art Institute of Charlotte, a branch of Miami International University of Art & Design

Was there a defining moment when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?

My high school principal asked me to design trays to be attached to the back of movie theatre seats to hold drinks and popcorn. Although the design was never patented, I created a prototype in woodshop class. The experience helped me realize I could turn an idea into reality.

How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience?

I use my life experiences, coupled with my educational background, to show students what it takes to succeed in the classroom and the workplace. I bring in guest speakers from the design industry to talk about the realities and challenges they face. I also take students on field trips to see local design professionals at work. It all helps bridge the gap between the classroom and the design industry.

What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?

I make assignments and activities in the classroom relatable to students’ lives. When they can apply what they learn to the real world, they buy in and are more receptive to learning. As a result, they show up and show out!

How does collaboration contribute to students’ success—particularly when students from various programs work together?

Connectedness, a sense of belonging, community, and respectful relationships with peers all create support structures for students to achieve their academic goals. In my opinion, collaboration satisfies the social and emotional needs of students.

What’s the most important thing you impart to students to help them succeed in class and the real world?

Connect what you’re learning in class to the real world.

What’s the most critical advice you would offer any student embarking on a creative career?

Everything we do in the design industry is greatly affected by the smallest level of detail. Master the details and you’ll master the craft.

Anything else you’d like to share?

I’m passionate about teaching and sharing knowledge with students who want to better their lives.