Judy Ruvuna

Interior Design

Program Coordinator for Interior Design
The Art Institute of San Antonio, a branch of The Art Institute of Houston

Judy Ruvuna

Don’t be afraid to fail--failure has generated some of the most innovative design solutions. Judy Ruvuna , Program Coordinator for Interior Design , The Art Institute of San Antonio, a branch of The Art Institute of Houston

What would you say is the defining moment in your life when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?

I was intensely curious as a child, always asking, "Why?" I wanted to know how things worked and frequently created my own toys by pulling things apart to create the toys.  Drawing eventually became a way for “keeping me out of trouble” by creating things on paper.  I realized that I wanted to be a creative professional in high school when I created a set for a play that I had written.  Building the set and painting the scenes was a lot of work; it also made me realize how powerful design could be.

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?

I design projects and assignments to improve the student’s critical thinking and problem-solving skills and use my industry experience to bring real-world context to the material that I teach in the classroom.  I make sure that the students have a clear understanding of the design process and explore typical questions and problems associated with each phase of the design process. This allows the students to learn how to conceptualize, explore, define and produce. The students then go into the production phase with the best possible design solutions for every project they work on.  They also learn how to communicate, critique, provide feedback and collaborate on ideas as if were working in industry.   

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?

When students come to CAD I (Computer Aided Drafting) they are initially a bit overwhelmed; some of them having never used a computer to draw or design.  Each new group of students come into the class with different skill sets; the challenge is to get all the students ready to design their final project and produce a set of construction documents.  I use targeted assignments, tutoring and create a collaborative learning environment.  The students are always amazed at what they can do.   

What role does collaboration contribute to students' success, especially when students from other programs contribute to the same project?

Collaborating and sharing ideas is vital for generating new and innovative ideas.  In my classes where I have Interior Design and Design & Technical Graphics students, collaboration has produced some really interesting projects.  Students are exposed to a different way of thinking and solving problems.

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?

Find something that you are really passionate about, work hard, and don’t be afraid to fail. Failure has generated some of the most innovative design solutions.  Remember that the world is full of creative designers; never ever stop learning.

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 had always been concerned that having a background in Textiles, Interior Design, Architecture and Historic Preservation, I would have to choose. As a faculty member at The Art Institute of San Antonio, I get to use all of my experience.