Interior Design Instructor
The Art Institute of Pittsburgh — Online Division
Be open to each new direction. You'll find that it takes you to a place you hadn't imagined. Dan Harper , Interior Design Instructor , The Art Institute of Pittsburgh — Online Division
Was there a defining moment when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?
I’ve known since I was a child—the first time I made something with my hands.
How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience?
I share examples of my own professional successes and failures—and what I’ve learned from both—to help students see how and why we do things, and what our actions mean.
What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?
Thesis research class is one of my favorites. I challenge students to think about how design impacts individuals and society.
In what way do you inspire students to push themselves beyond their own perceived limits?
Students often worry that they won’t be able to write a 20-page research paper, so I encourage them find something they’re passionate about, to find their voice, and to be inspired by what others have already discovered in order to blaze their own path.
How does collaboration contribute to students’ success?
Collaboration is the reality of the world we live in, so working with peers helps students find ways to work with others with different ideas, views, and opinions. It also helps them stretch beyond their boundaries and see the world through a different lens.
What’s the most important thing you impart to students to help them succeed in class and the real world?
Be open to each new direction. It’ll take you to a place you hadn’t imagined.