The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale
At every age and stage in your life you will face new challenges. Earn your place at the table by being the best that you can be. Marcia Fernandes , Adjunct Instructor , The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale
I was seeking a life with purpose, meaning and fulfillment. Up until the age of 40 I was an entrepreneur, or hired in a management capacity. Through education, I updated my skills and began a new career teaching an assortment of communication, marketing, and advertising classes. It was the best decision of my life!
How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience to provide an industry veteran's sense of the realities / challenges / opportunities of the profession?
Teaching is not just about the subject material. It also includes context, situational awareness, the big picture, strategy, storytelling and explaining the need to mix knowledge with judgment and intuition.
Is there a class assignment that exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring? Similarly, how does your approach inspire each student to push themselves beyond their own perceived limits?
Senior Project – Integrated Marketing Communication Plan is a capstone course that I teach to the advertising students who are about to graduate. In that class we are equals and I tell them I no longer have anything to teach them. Instead, they need to show me what they know. I have had many students tell me their final project, which includes writing, graphic design, marketing and critical thinking skills, exceeded anything they thought they were capable of. Through the project they proved to themselves what they know and are confident to sit at any table and intelligently discuss advertising. Many have contacted me years later to tell me that they refer to that project as a working professional and many credit it with their being hired.
What role does collaboration contribute to students' success, especially when students from other programs contribute to the same project?
As a team member one needs to learn how to manage the group to achieve the synergies necessary for an excellent work product. That requires first being on board 100% as a team member, respecting what every other team member brings to the table and understanding that the outcome of a good team is often better than working alone.
In your opinion, what is the single most important thing you impart to your students to help them succeed in your class and in the real world? Alternatively, what is the most critical advice you would offer any student as he / she embarks on a creative career?
At every age and stage in your life you will face new challenges. Earn your place at the table by being the best that you can be. You cannot always eat dessert—sometimes you need to eat a salad, and complete all tasks and responsibilities to the best of your ability. That’s life.
Is there anything else you'd like us to know about you, your experience, or your role as a faculty member at The Art Institutes?
I have been teaching since 1998 at The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale and it has been a privilege to meet many gifted students with brilliant creative minds.