Art Institutes

CulinaryManagement

Kickstart Your Culinary Education

Register before May 11 to:

  • Learn cooking theory.
  • Hone your knife skills.
  • Practice basic techniques.

And you can complete two 11 week courses in only six weeks.

Call 1-(866)-481-5562 today.

I want to take charge.

When you go to a restaurant, you’re not just looking at the menu. You’re taking in the ambience, watching the flow of customers and employees, tuning in to the rhythm of the whole operation, even peeking into the kitchen. You know there’s more to it than just serving food. And if you’re willing to work for it, our Culinary Management degree programs can open up a career in the business side of a demanding industry. At a time when consumers expect more choices than ever, you need to be equally adept in the kitchen and the front of the house. That means knowing how to manage people, control costs, and create harmony among the menu, the ambience, the staff, and the customers. You’ll be surrounded and inspired by other talented, creatively driven students. And you’ll be pushed, challenged, and, above all else, supported by experienced faculty* who are committed to your success.

*Credentials and experience levels vary by faculty and instructors.

Degrees Offered

Associate of Applied Science in Restaurant & Catering Management

Quarter Credit Hours:
90
Timeframe:
6 Quarters

Gainful Employment

Outcomes

Associate of Applied Science in Restaurant & Catering Management

Outcomes

See ge.artinstitutes.edu/programoffering/3446 for program duration, tuition, fees, and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.

View Academic Catalog

Bachelor of Science in Culinary Management

Quarter Credit Hours:
180
Timeframe:
12 Quarters

Gainful Employment

Outcomes

Bachelor of Science in Culinary Management

Outcomes

See ge.artinstitutes.edu/programoffering/2542 for program duration, tuition, fees, and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.

View Academic Catalog

Classroom Experience


Long hours and hard work don't scare me.

The culinary industry is growing more and more competitive, fueled largely by the growing need to provide international cuisines to discerning consumers. That makes efficiently running every aspect of the food service operation more important than ever. And our program reflects that intensity. You’ll start with fundamentals like culinary and classical techniques, nutrition, and management by menu. From there, you’ll explore international cuisines from Europe, Africa, Asia, and more. You’ll study every aspect of the foodservice operation, including human resources, purchasing, the hospitality industry, food and beverage management, wine and spirits management, and strategic planning and marketing. Internships and student-run campus dining labs can add valuable hands-on experience. It’s all about equipping you to manage a food service operation—front, back, and everything in between. See our gainful employment pages for possible careers that match the program that interests you.

Meet our Alumni

  • The Art Institute of San Antonio, a branch of The Art Institute of Houston alumni Andrew Satterwhite

    Andrew Satterwhite

    Culinary Arts , 2013

    "The Art Institute of San Antonio [taught me] why recipes come out a certain way."

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    Andrew Satterwhite

    Line Cook at Luke San Antonio

    Andrew Satterwhite is working as a line cook at Luke San Antonio in Texas. He’s responsible for set up, prep, and running the grill station for dinner service. Andrew served in the United States Army for four years as a parachute rigger and has also worked in construction. “All [of these experiences] have taught me skills that I can use for myself, but also I have used them to help this country grow,” he says.

    Andrew looks to his surroundings for inspiration and says that the best part of his culinary career is that it’s always changing. “This is one of the most diverse and exciting careers to have. I can go anywhere and learn recipes, techniques, and cultures to help me make new and exciting dishes [to] introduce to my family and others.”

    Andrew, who in 2013 earned an Associate of Applied Science in Culinary Arts from The Art Institute of San Antonio, says that his education taught him why recipes turn out a certain way. “Growing up in California, I was lucky enough to encounter many cultures and the cuisines that accompanied them. In the Army, I used an electric skillet and a barbeque to make all my meals.” He recommends that current students open their minds to learning. “Figure out how to make [learning] a driving force in everything you do.”

    See http://ge.artinstitutes.edu/programoffering/2550 for program duration, tuition, fees, and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.

    Read More...
  • The Art Institute of San Antonio, a branch of The Art Institute of Houston alumni Angela Lawson

    Angela Lawson

    Digital Photography , 2015

    "My education at The Art Institute of San Antonio gave me the skills, knowledge, and business sense to be successful in [any] genre of photography that I choose."

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    Angela Lawson

    Real Estate Photographer for Curb Views, LLC

    Angela Lawson is a real estate photographer for Curb Views, LLC, in San Antonio, Texas. She photographs houses and collaborates with realtors to build virtual tours of real estate listings. To create her work, Angela visits homes for sale, photographing the inside and outside. “Sometimes, the home may not be photographically ready and I help the owners and realtors to straighten up,” she says. “I had a realtor specifically request me as her photographer because she liked my photographic style. The previous home I shot for her sold in the first 8 hours of being listed. She was so happy and that made me happy!”

    Angela’s creative inspirations include Annie Leibovitz, Martin Schoeller, Herb Ritts, Jerry Uelsman, Christian Coigny, and Helmut Newton. She’s excited to be learning new skills and meeting new people. “I have the chance with each passing day to make better work than the day before. This work is seen by many, many different people and is a reflection of my hard work and knowledge of my craft. I always enjoy learning more about photography.”

    Angela, who in 2015 earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography from The Art Institute of San Antonio, says that her education provided the skills, knowledge, and business sense she needed to be successful in photography. “I learned about lighting, photographic design, portraiture, photojournalism, corporate and architecture, business practices, and so much more. All of this knowledge sets me apart from many photographers out there in the world.” She adds that current students should take their time and stay focused on their goals. “While you may pick up certain skills quickly, others may be more challenging. Life events, finances, and learning curves may seem to overwhelm at times—it happened to me—but don't let them discourage you from your goals and passion for what you want to do.”

    See http://ge.artinstitutes.edu/programoffering/4262 for program duration, tuition, fees and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.

    Read More...
  • The Art Institute of San Antonio, a branch of The Art Institute of Houston alumni Ayme Troas

    Ayme Troas

    Interior Design , 2015

    "My education [taught me] how to communicate with other designers. When they ask for particular items by name, I know exactly what they are talking about."

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    Ayme Troas

    Design and Sales for KBK to Trade

    Ayme Troas is working in design and sales for KBK to Trade in San Antonio, Texas. She assists designers in finding the right fabrics, furniture, accessories, and lighting for interior design projects. Ayme also works with vendors to get information for clients and to place orders. “The design industry is always evolving, as are the people. Every once in a while someone comes along and takes the industry by storm. I enjoy learning about the new trends and introducing them to our clients,” she says.

    Ayme finds creative inspiration in the world around her. “Whether it’s people, food, my surroundings, or a movement, there is always something that will spark a start to my next project.” Her creative heroes are people in the design industry who go above and beyond to reach the best possible design outcome. Looking to the future, Ayme believes that computer renderings will continue to improve—and will soon look like actual photographs. “The industry is headed toward more digital advances [including] creating applications for tablets or phones [that will allow designers to make] on-the-spot renderings. These [applications] would be extremely beneficial to designers who are always on the go.”

    Ayme, who in 2015 earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Design from The Art Institute of San Antonio, says that her education taught her the industry language as well as how to be a strong communicator. “When [other designers] ask for particular items by name, I know exactly what they are talking about and therefore I can help them more proficiently. I’m also able to quickly draft plans or create sketches to show custom pieces or room layouts.” She adds that current students should push their creativity and don’t hold back. “Find your signature style but don’t be afraid to explore others.”

    See http://ge.artinstitutes.edu/programoffering/2546 for program duration, tuition, fees and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.

    Read More...
  • The Art Institute of San Antonio, a branch of The Art Institute of Houston alumni Sommer Bostick

    Sommer Bostick

    Media Arts & Animation , 2014

    "Working on game based training for the military has exposed me to things I never would be doing when I started at [The Art Institute of San Antonio]."

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    Sommer Bostick

    3D Modeler and Consultant for Booz Allen Hamilton

    Sommer Bostick is working as a 3D modeler and consultant for Booz Allen Hamilton on the San Antonio Riverwalk in Texas. She works on game based training for the military, and is responsible for creating and texturing 3D models, video editing, and demonstrating products and capabilities at marketing events. Sommer says that she learns something new each day. “I think that's one of the coolest things about being in the animation industry because when you have to model and animate something you know nothing about, you have to learn everything about it so you can accurately represent it.”

    Sommer is especially proud to have created a welcome video for Booz Allen Hamilton’s incoming CEO—it was played for hundreds of employees. “That video gained me recognition from leadership and other teams in the firm. I met and talked with the CEO one-on-one during the event [where the video] was played, and it was an amazing experience for me.” Since her video was viewed, Sommer says that the company’s leadership has relied on her more and more. “I realized how much I proved myself to my team, and the whole firm.”

    Sommer, who in 2014 earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Media Arts & Animation from The Art Institute of San Antonio, says that her education provided her with the knowledge, tools, and skills she needed to transition into her current career. She recommends that current students give it everything they’ve got—even if it means taking a job that isn’t a “dream job.” “It’s experience and you need that.” She adds that the future of her industry lies in staying on top of new technology and developing applications and training. “Currently we are diving into virtual reality with technology like Oculus Rift and Google Cardboard. We are exploring how these technologies can benefit training in the military. I believe that virtual reality can go beyond that into health care and other professions, and be incredibly useful in training capabilities.”

    See http://ge.artinstitutes.edu/programoffering/2547 for program duration, tuition, fees, and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.

    Read More...

What Will I Study?

Study Section

Give me a chance and I'll show what I can do.

Through our rigorous and well-rounded Culinary Management curriculum, you’ll explore both the front and the back of the house, as you become familiar with both traditional and emerging flavors from every corner of the world. You’ll study:

  • Culinary Techniques
  • Classical Techniques
  • Hospitality Industry & Industry Trends
  • Management by Menu
  • Nutrition
  • Purchasing and Controlling Costs
  • Garde Manger
  • Food and Beverage Management
  • World Cuisine
  • A la carte Kitchen
  • Human Resources
  • Strategic Planning and Marketing
  • Wine and Spirits Management
  • Global Management in the Hospitality Industry


I'm looking for my proving ground.

At The Art Institutes system of schools, creativity is our core, our calling, our culture. Our Culinary Management degree programs are built on that creative foundation. It’s also built on our knowledge that a creative career is not for the faint of heart. Because it’s tough out there, it’s tough in here. But we’ll support you along every step of your journey. That’s why we provide the mentoring and real-world experience you need to make your creativity marketable. We provide the mentoring and real-world experience it takes to prevail, with faculty* who’ve worked in the field, along with opportunities to learn that go far beyond our kitchens and classrooms. You’ll be encouraged and expected to be bold. To take risks. To push yourself and the people around you. It won’t be easy. In fact, it’ll be the hardest thing you’ll ever love.

*Credentials and experience levels vary by faculty and instructors.

 

Meet our Faculty

  • Gary Rice

    Gary Rice, MBA

    Culinary Arts

    "Be true to yourself and work hard."

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    Gary Rice, MBA

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

    When I was 20 years old and recovering from a life-threatening illness, I began to see my life differently. I spent the better part of two years in physical, occupational, and speech therapy. After recovery I decided to take on a new challenge...to take my love of cooking and make a career out of it.

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

    With over two decades in the hospitality industry, I have plenty of real-world experience to share in the classroom. It all works into discussions on motivation, self-discipline, and pride. I use my contacts in the San Antonio area to bring in guest lecturers, take students on trips to hotels and restaurants, and bring them to seminars and restaurant association events where they can begin doing some networking.

    What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?

    I love to teach Capstone. It’s an all-encompassing class that lets me see just how much student have learned in my program. Watching them during their cooking practical shows me where the school is in terms of attention to teaching the core basics.

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


    Listen, ask questions, and stay current with trends and technology. Be true to yourself and work hard. Work in as many different places as you can when you’re young... explore the industry, then settle down and make a career of what you love best.

    Anything else you’d like to share?

    As a program chair, I treat every student and every one of my team members as if they were family.

    Read More...
  • Gregory Williams

    Gregory Williams, MBA, CEC

    Culinary Arts

    Never stop learning, and don't be afraid to fail.

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    Gregory Williams, MBA, CEC

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

    When I was around five years old, my brother and I opened a “restaurant” at our house for our friends. We set the kitchen floor on fire with a flaming grilled cheese sandwich. I’ve been cooking ever since.

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

    I‘ve enjoyed plenty of success in this industry, but it’s my failures that I like to bring up in class. Students need to know that, as professionals, they’ll fail at something. The key is to not let it get you down...and to learn from every mistake, and every failure.

    What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?

    It’s not a single assignment, but a class called À La Carte. I take a hands-off, advisory role and let the students take control of our student restaurant. The students help devise the menu, lay out the kitchen, and experience running an actual restaurant. When they’re empowered, when they’re praised for a job well done, students take the extra steps—and, in many cases, perform beyond their own perceived limits.

    How does collaboration contribute to students’ success—particularly when students from various programs work together?

    Many culinarians think that being a great cook is all it takes to succeed. Not true. All great restaurants work with other talented creative professionals to bring their vision to life. It takes photographers, graphic designers, web designers, interior designers, and more to create a restaurant. We’re all good at what we do, but few are good at everything. Collaboration lets each person play to their strengths to create something great.

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

    Never stop learning, and don’t be afraid to fail. That’s the advice I’d give my younger self if I had the chance. The first part is simple—you can never learn too much. In our industry you can bet that your competition is up late doing research, practicing, or checking out new trends. Don’t lose out because you weren’t educated.

    Anything else you’d like to share?

    I always say that getting into teaching was my happy accident. I never thought I’d be in this role, and I’m glad I was given the chance. Being a part of people’s education, growth, and lifelong success is a great honor.

    Read More...
  • Christina M. Perrington, CEC

    Christina M. Perrington, CEC

    Culinary Arts

    Do what you love... life's too short not to enjoy it.

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    Christina M. Perrington, CEC

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

    While I was serving during Operation Desert Storm/Desert Shield, I learned that one person could make a difference. I was a food service sergeant preparing meals for the soldiers in my unit. I used my years of experience and my creativity to make sure everything they ate was the best it could be. Good food boosts morale...and it’s my first love.

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

    I use my life and professional experiences—good and bad—to add context to classroom lessons and help students better understand the material. My stepmother is from Vietnam, and I’ve traveled to many countries in Asia, which is why I specialize in Asian Cuisine.

    What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?

    I ask students to build a business plan...I love teaching the purchasing and cost-control aspect of it. I try to relate all the material to students’ everyday lives. Most of my students don’t like math, so I give them as many resources as possible to help them feel more confident with the project.

    How does collaboration contribute to students’ success—particularly when students from various programs work together?

    They have a wonderful opportunity to work with students from other programs in their business plans, portfolios and menu design—not to mention the chance to make friends for life.

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

    My life philosophy is that the more I know, the more I know I don’t know. Life is really just an education outside the classroom. I love teaching students about food, which is my passion

    What’s the most critical advice you would offer any student embarking on a creative career?

    Do what you love...life’s too short not to enjoy it.

    Anything else you’d like to share?

    I’ve been in the culinary industry for over 35 years, and I’ve seen many changes in the industry. But one thing has stayed the same: success takes hard work and perseverance. Food may be a necessity of life, but it’s also my passion. And it’s an honor to be able to teach what I love.

    Read More...
  • Woods HS

    Mary Catherine Woods

    Baking & Pastry

    "Collaboration is essential in the kitchen. If one person falls behind, the whole kitchen falls behind."

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

    Baking and Pastry wasn’t my very first choice when I went to college. Growing up, like many Pastry Chefs, I always loved to create desserts and experiment at home. I never really thought I could make it a career.  After graduating with a BS in Merchandising and Management from The University of Wisconsin, I went to work for a company in Atlanta within the wholesale industry. As time went on, my passion and interest in Baking and Pastry continued to grow. The restaurant scene in Atlanta was on the rise, and I found myself being drawn more to the culinary scene than my current career. I researched culinary schools, and I enrolled at The Art Institute of Atlanta. Once I started school, I ended my merchandising career and started working in restaurants. For me, it wasn’t one defining moment, but more of a progression and building of a passion.

    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?

    While we have a structured program, I am still able to show them different ways of producing or presenting different recipes. They need to know that just because the recipe states one way, many Chefs may produce it in another way. Simply telling them stories of my times in the industry allows them to ask questions that may not be otherwise asked and weaves into what we are producing at that time. I also take times during class to treat them as though they are my cooks and we have a certain menu to create and have done and presented by certain time, as though we are 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?


    Many students have the passion for this career, but at the same time can become overwhelmed once they are in the classroom. I try to break it down for them in terms they understand, as well as relate it to real life situations. Taking the time to work with them one on one as much as possible gives me an insight as to how they work, the way they organize, as well as their strengths and weaknesses. From here I try to help them turn their weaknesses into strengths, which in turn builds their confidence and they see just how much they can accomplish.

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


    Collaboration is essential in the kitchen. If one person falls behind, the whole kitchen falls behind. Constant communication within a team is crucial, and is something I try to ingrain in students. Asking for help is not weakness, it’s strength. When the students are in groups, it only reinforces what type of environment they will be working in.  

    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?

    To be a team player, listen, and ask for help when needed. Learn from your fellow cooks and Chefs. Not only will you learn skills that will advance you to the next level, but you may also learn what NOT to do when you climb the ranks in the kitchen. Always observe and never stop learning. Even when you graduate and are in the industry, go to other kitchens to do a stage for a day or two. You will be amazed at what you learn from other people, and in turn will help you grow.

    Read More...
  • Mike Buttles HS

    Mike Buttles

    Culinary Arts

    "One of the greatest assets of what we do is that culinary is the world’s most portable profession."

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

    My first position, after graduating from the University of South Florida in rhetoric and public address (speech), was as a property manager and trainer for residential and commercial real estate. In a very short time, I was promoted to a position where I was responsible to train new managers. I look back on my successes and can wholly attribute them to an ability to see circumstances and issues, including what’s for dinner, through the eyes of others. Face it; cooking for others, not yourself, is the credo for any practicing chef. Armed with this background and an incredible understanding in fiscal decision making that came right along with it, I eagerly approached the next learning phase of my life; culinary school in Paris, France.


    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?

    During the past years, I have been an instructor, an historian, an executive chef, a restaurant consultant, a program director, and a student for a very enjoyable time. Needless to say, a lot of this overlapped. One of the greatest assets of what we do is that culinary is the world’s most portable profession. I try to share my experiences in the industry and also connect the dots historically for students who have not traveled or experienced as many different cuisines.  


    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?

    My classrooms encourage sharing ideas and experiences. When we critique food we talk about the flavors, textures, and techniques used to achieve a finish product. I also focus on the business of foodservice to ensure that students understand that being a professional cook or chef is different from cooking in your home. You need to understand how to manage resources and, most importantly, time.


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

    Collaboration in the food and beverage industry is how we take care of our guests. Assignments in my classes foster this collaboration so that students practice communication and partnership with others towards a common goal.  


    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?

    I teach students in my classes to be lifelong learners. I demonstrate to them that I am still learning and encourage them to not think of school as a thing you do once. Learning is a process of developing and engaging with the world to understand more over a much longer period of time.



    Read More...
  • Michael Becquet

    Michael J. Becquet

    Culinary Arts

    If it was easy, it wouldn't have value.

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    Michael J. Becquet

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

    I grew up with a love of food. My family included farmers and restaurateurs, and my father was a produce buyer for a grocery chain. But my most memorable moment was meeting Graham Kerr, the “Galloping Gourmet” from early 70’s TV. That’s when I knew I wanted to become a chef.

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

    By doing just that—I always try to bring my own personal real-life experiences into the classroom to help students connect theory to industry practice. I often add to that by having students conduct interviews with local chefs and restaurant owners.

    What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?

    When my students meet with culinary professionals for those interviews, they not only get an opportunity to hear a new perspective, they also begin to learn the power of networking in the industry.

    How does collaboration contribute to students’ success—particularly when students from various programs work together?

    That’s one of the most valuable benefits of studying here. By collaborating with their peers from different programs, students learn more, learn to work together, and develop professional friendships that’ll help them for the rest of their lives. That’s a big deal!

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

    No one said it would be easy. If it was easy, it wouldn’t have value.

    Read More...
  • Rebecca Kerr Portrait

    Rebecca Kerr

    General Education

    "Continue to refine your speaking skills so that the ability to communicate never stands in the way of your success."

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    Rebecca Kerr
    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?

    Just the act of Public Speaking often pushes students outside their comfort zone. Standing up in front of a full classroom with all eyes on you can be uncomfortable. Then students must organize their ideas and clearly present them to the class. That can be terrifying! Students often enter my class believing they can't stand up and deliver a speech to their peers. However, I provide the students with coping mechanisms, skill development, and a safe environment allowing them to deliver not only one but many speeches.

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


    Collaboration in a communication class serves a dual purpose. Collaboration allows students to improve their group communication skills, as well as develop an end result that is better than any single group member could do alone. Working in a group challenges students to clearly express their ideas, mediate during disagreements, compromise for the good of the project, lead, follow, and much more. Additionally by bringing students from different fields of study and diverse backgrounds together, students' own ideas, abilities, and limitations are challenged often resulting in a better end product.

    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?

    I work to ensure students leave my class with the ability to clearly and effectively communicate their ideas. I believe the ability to skillfully convey abstract ideas, like those often found in art, can set an artist apart from their peers. In the creative career field, students will be asked to communicate on many levels. They will pitch ideas, lead groups, speak to investors, and hopefully deliver acceptance speeches. My advice to students: Continue to refine your speaking skills so that the ability to communicate never stands in the way of your success.

    Read More...
  • Pachecano HS

    Robert Pachecano, M.A.

    General Education

    "The most critical advice I give to students is to never accept things at face value."

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    Robert Pachecano, M.A.
    What would you say is the defining moment in your life when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?

    I have come to find a home at The Art Institute of San Antonio.  I thought it was going to be a challenge to teach the discipline of Sociology in a creative environment but I come to find that it blends very well in the creative environment of Ai San Antonio.  If I can point to a defining moment, it would be when my first term teaching, on the last day of class, some of my students’ final words to me were, “This is the BEST class I have ever taken.”  “I learned A LOT.”  “You are the BEST instructor I’ve EVER had.”  “I didn’t think I was going to make a connection with sociology and ________” (insert graphic design, game art design, interior design, fashion management, culinary, etc.).  The impact that I have had on students has been far reaching and rewarding at the same time.  


    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 often tell my students on the first day of class that teaching sociology is only one of the many jobs I have had in the community.  Along with a career in academia, I have been a social worker and a case manager.  I have worked with diverse populations in this area:  from single mothers, to survivors of domestic violence, from homeless veterans and veterans undergoing drug treatment, to people coming in and going out of the federal prison system, witness protection, and federal probationers.  I very much draw from the experiences and the interactions I have had with different people and this has given me the unique perspectives I take in class.  It has also given me ability to be patient and really listen to what people are saying, or trying to communicate to you.  Making a connection is often the simplest thing someone can do, to make the biggest impact on anyone you meet and interact with.  

    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?

    If I can point to one particular assignment in my course, it would be the paper and presentation.  The paper involves them choosing a current social problem in our society today and they have to incorporate a chapter from the textbook, along with other sources online and research.  This allows them to synthesize everything we’ve discussed in class and apply it in some way in the analysis that goes into their paper.  THEN, they also have to present their paper to the class as well.  Those who are writing challenged are challenged to really focus their thoughts unto paper.  Those who are presentation shy are challenged to come out of their shells.  These are two skills that students must master before they get out there in real world.  They have to be able to effectively present their thoughts in writing AND they have to be able to express those thoughts to other people.  I simply use the perspective sociology gives students to help them accomplish this. 

    I often say, no matter your major:  graphic design, game art design, interior design, fashion management, culinary, etc.; you will be dealing with people, as customers, as clients and the like.  Sociology as a discipline helps you do this.  Understanding the groups people inhabit and the effect groups have on people as individuals  gives students, who are future creative professionals an edge no one else has.  The most critical advice I give to students is to never accept things at face value.  That, the real challenge lies in seeking the real reasons why things happen, why people act the way they do.  This is critical because we live in a world now where things are just accepted as truth, because it’s on a website, or someone important said it. 

    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 do what I do because of education.  Education is many things.  Education is empowerment.  Education is liberty and liberation.  It is a driving force that fuels the future; that enables people to carry on even when the odds, the challenges the barriers seem insurmountable. I am living proof of this.  I am proud to say, I am from the westside of San Antonio, born and raised.  I come from humble beginnings where sacrifice for education was the mantra; was the mission statement; was the vision.  Education above all else was something my migrant worker grandparents and parents instilled in me from the beginning, for two simple reasons.  That is the only way you can be truly free, and it is, “the only thing that they can’t take away from you”, as my mother would say.  


    Education is my mission. Sociology is my passion.  Service to others and empowerment fuel my values.  This is all I know.  It is all I have grown up with, it is what was given to me and what I give to students in class.  Because I am still a student (in a doctoral program), being able to relate to students and all they go through is just as important as course material and concepts. I know I have faced the same, exact odds, barriers and challenges. Every day I step into a classroom, I carry all of this with me.  I pride myself on being flexible and understanding; but still expect everyone to give all they have to their educational endeavors.  This is because this is what was expected of me, not just from teachers and professors, or researchers; but from my family, alive and in heaven now.  No matter what you have going on, how bad it seems, how impossible things seem to get; education is the solution to it all.  It is what will ensure a brighter future.

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