Scott Smith

General Education

Program Coordinator
The Art Institute of Houston

English Faculty Scott Smith

Go with your gut and you'll be surprised how often it pays off. Scott Smith , Program Coordinator , The Art Institute of Houston

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

It was the first time I got positive feedback from a magazine editor. While it was a rejection—a normal part of the creative process—it spurred me to keep pushing forward. Today, I collect rejections like other people collect trading cards or fine wine. Accept rejection. But be driven.

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

I approach each class assignment as a mission. My students must reach certain checkpoints in order to be successful. I use my editor’s eye to give them critical examples drawn from actual work I’ve created or reviewed.

What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring.

I believe coming up with projects that relate to a specific field of study makes them more relevant. I could simply assign an essay on Shakespeare, but I’d rather have students form groups and re-imagine a scene from one of his plays in a more modern era.

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

Take a risk. It may not pay off right away—or ever—but your creative work will be inspired by the fight for something new. Success is part instinct, part tact, and part risk. Go with your gut and you’ll be surprised how often it pays off.

Anything else you’d like to share?

We prepare creative people for a world that hungers for innovation and diverse perspectives. Feed the world with your savvy, your cunning, and your creative flavors.