Lisa Tucker Cross

Interior Design

Interior Design Instructor
The Art Institute of Pittsburgh — Online Division

Lisa Tucker

Never stop learning. Lisa Tucker Cross, Ph. D. , 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?

My mother inspired me with her endless creative energy. When I was very young, I worked side by side with her as she transformed interiors and crafted beautiful objects. A major defining moment for me was the day I presented my final design compilation and fashion show in college. An art professor told me it was the best compilation he’d ever reviewed. That meant so much to me, because he was one of the most respected and toughest professors in the department.

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

It’s so important to integrate personal and professional experiences into the learning experience. I give students examples of my work, along with samples from other professionals, to motivate them to strive for excellence and prepare them for the real world. Students also engage with local professionals to complete projects and get a taste of life in the design world.

What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring—and how do you do you inspire students to push themselves beyond their own perceived limits?

In Thesis Development, students develop their own thesis based on a unique interior design problem; they present their thesis to a live review panel of professionals. Then they take it to the next studio course and turn it into a full-scale interior design project. That’s one of the most significant elements in their portfolios—it defines them and their talents as interior designers. I hold the students to high standards while guiding them through their challenges.

How does collaboration contribute to students’ success?

Students need to interact with one another in order to dig deeper while exploring new ideas and think critically through solutions. That’s how they’ll work in the interior design industry.

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

Never stop learning. Always, always, always apply critical thinking skills to every project and potential client. And develop positive people skills.

Anything else you’d like to share?

Life is too short to live in a boring environment.