I teach them to embrace conflict and how to collaborate in the face of dispute rather than avoid it. Christopher Page , Faculty , The Art Institute of California—Sacramento, a campus of Argosy University
Was there a defining moment when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?
At 14 years old in a strict-isolation burn unit with 3rd degree burns over 15% of my body. From that, I knew I didn't want to be a firefighter, a first responder, a nurse, or a doctor. The day I got home my twin brother demanded I hear one of his favorite songs. He played the live version of Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Sweet Home Alabama."
In the middle of the song, I reminded my mother she promised me anything if I got out of the hospital alive. And as soon as I was well enough to walk, my father took my brother and I to the music store where I bought my first electric guitar and amp. I knew that this was exactly what I wanted to do and for the next 20 years I pursued it vigorously.
How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience?
With 20 years of experience as a lead singer/lead guitarist and a professional in the corporate world, I have the unique ability to read students on an artistic level and connect their abilities with the practical needs of today's workplace.
What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?
Public Speaking is the class that demonstrates this the most. Students come into class with a fear of speaking and a lack of self-confidence but they leave with a different perspective. 95% of these students leave swearing they'll never be nervous to deliver a speech again. They leave with a new, increased level of self-confidence knowing they can learn and accomplish the most challenging of goals. Finally, they leave actually seeking out speaking opportunities with the goal of influencing business, government and society.
How does collaboration contribute to students’ success—particularly when students from various programs work together?
Peer learning plays a substantial role in a student's ability to complete a degree. Collaboration is a concept that is often misunderstood, underestimated, and hard to learn. It involves a lot of conflict. Most either quit or choose to divide the work in equal parts rather than to work as a team and collaborate. But that’s where the synergy, creativity and ground-breaking results happen.
I teach this in all my classes and continually coach students through the forming, storming, norming, performing and adjourning phases. I teach them to embrace conflict and how to collaborate in the face of dispute rather than avoid it. The intellectual diversity of teammates from different majors, different work backgrounds, and different learning styles gives our students the opportunity to have a nice blend of theory and practice.
What’s the most important thing you impart to students to help them succeed in class and the real world?
The most important concept I impart to students to help them in the personal, professional, and academic endeavor is the ability to ADAPT.
Despite what students think they want to do in the future, their interests and goals may change. If students have the ability to think, learn, and adapt they will be able to multiply their options and continually learn. They can learn to work with, create, correct, and experience new paths.
The best part about being a faculty member and working in an institution of higher learning is the STUDENTS! Even on my worst day, I feel better once I get to the classroom and interact with the students. This is multiplied by the faculty and staff here who are talented, passionate, and wonderful!