Mary Broding

Mary Broding

I learn from my students every day. That's what I love most about teaching. Mary Broding , Program Coordinator , The Art Institute of California—San Diego, a campus of Argosy University

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

I was in Paris with my high school French club, viewing impressionist work at the Musée d'Orsa. Walking past Monet's Rouen Cathedral series, I was stunned by how paint could achieve the effect of atmospheric shimmer. I walked through the Impressionist section many times, in a haze, absolutely taken with the work. That’s when I knew I wanted to study art history, and either work in an art museum or teach art history.

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

I primarily teach College English and Creative Nonfiction, and I bring my love of the written word to class. Many of my students have struggled with writing in the past so I ask them to write about something they’re comfortable with and interested in. I want to help them build the confidence they’ll need to express themselves in writing, no matter what profession they choose.

What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?

I’m all about experiential learning, getting students out of the classroom and into the community. I recently took my Creative Nonfiction class to the Cannibalism exhibit at the San Diego Museum of Man—then had them write an essay on whether they’d ever consider taking part in cannibalism. Students were eager to respond and ready to back up their answer to the question, drawing from what they’d learned at the exhibit.

How does collaboration contribute to students’ success?

No one is an island, especially today. Students need to learn to be able to get along and be productive with people from different personal and professional backgrounds.

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

Writing is a constant learning process. Once I let students know that I have a hard time with certain aspects of it, they know it‘s okay for them to struggle, too.

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

Be realistic. You’re going to fail—and that’s okay. In fact, failing will help make you stronger at whatever you do.

Anything else you’d like to share?

I truly care about our students. We have a fantastic bunch of individuals here who bring a vast variety of experience and knowledge to the table. I learn from my students every day. That’s what I love most about teaching.