Sara Wade
Teaching Portfolio

Teaching Philosophy

The electronic arts are beautiful and extremely difficult art forms. I believe that to effectively teach in this space there are six critical ideas to teach in addition to the theories and processes in the field.

  1. Art is extremely difficult. It takes a lot of practice to get good at the many skills required to succeed. What a lot of students do not realize is that creative fields a lot of time and dedication. To truly become good at an art form one has to focus. You can achieve your dream career if you work hard and maintain a great attitude, but it will not be easy.
  2. Dedication and perseverance are paramount. It is easy to become frustrated, but if one really wants to be a great artist then they should never give up! Teaching students how to get past creative blocks and remember why they loved art in the first place is an important aspect of an art education. It’s not always fun. Those who succeed do so because they remain dedicated after others give up.
  3. Constructive criticism is an artist’s most valuable tool. Your peers have valuable things to say. It is important to show and get feedback on work at all stages from thumbnail sketches up to polished completion. Peers can tell you why something might not be working in your work. They can point out techniques that have helped them. If a student comes out of school with only one thing it should be the ability to accept and grow from criticism of his or her own work.
  4. Attitude is important. The creative worlds are small worlds. People want to work with people they like to be around. Be courteous to your fellow artists and your career will have no bounds.
  5. The creative fields are life-long learning endeavors. There will always be someone you can learn from. When an artist sits back and says “I know it all” and stops learning, practicing and improving, they essentially allow the rest of the creative world to pass them by. There is always a way to improve, to bring something new to the work, and to allow oneself to have ideas that are outside of their personal norm.
  6. Collaboration helps everyone to become better. Ideas get better when bounced off of others. Varied backgrounds bring new perspectives to the table. Don’t work in isolation. Stay involved with your peers and professional community. Together, we can do great things.

I make it my personal goal to instill these values in my students. My hope is that all of my students will go on to fulfill their creative dreams.

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Teaching Responsibilities

School of Motion

Contributor, September 2016 - present

Art Institute of Pittsburgh, Online Division

Assistant Professor, Senior Full Time Faculty, Game Art and Design Department, April 2013 - present

Adjunct Faculty, Media Arts and Animation Department, January 2008 - April 2013

Committees

  • Curriculum Committee (2017)
  • Faculty Events Committee (2017)
  • Alumni Outreach Committee (2016)
  • Admissions Committee (2013-2015)
  • Faculty Focus Group (2015)
  • Preventing Plagiarism Focus Group (2015)
  • Faculty Titling Initiative Application Review Panel (2014)

IGDA Faculty Advisor

  • Art Institute of Pittsburgh, Online Division chapter of International Game Developers Association (IGDA)

Subject Matter Expert (Course Development):

  • GADA243 - Programming for Artists
  • GADA312 - Game Animation
  • MAAA 302 – 3D Character Animation
  • GAD117 - Life Drawing and Gesture
  • GAD215 - Hard Surface & Organic Modeling

Instructor for the following courses:

  • C124 - Character and Object Design for Animation
  • C210 - 2D Animation
  • C212, C222, C232 – Computer Modeling and 3D Animation I, II and III
  • C220 - Intermediate 2D Animation
  • C320 - Advanced Digital Ink and Paint
  • C321 – Acting & Movement
  • C322 - 3D Character Animation
  • C332 – Advanced Software
  • C333 - Advanced 3D Textures
  • C411 - Introduction to Games
  • C412 - Advanced Software II
  • C422 - Advanced Software III
  • C433 - Advanced Modeling/Animation Topics
  • CAT405 – Production Techniques
  • CAT415 - Advanced Animation Principles
  • CC478, CC479 – Special Projects I and II
  • GAD115 - Sculpture and Drawing for Game Art and Design
  • GAD116 - Observational Drawing for Game Art and Design
  • GAD117 - Life Drawing and Gesture for Game Art and Design
  • GAD215 – Hard Surface and Organic Modeling
  • GAD223 - 3D Modeling/Animation III
  • GAD321 – Mapping for Digital Media
  • GAD322 – Project Management for Game Art & Design
  • GAD323 - Animation Layout and Scene Design
  • GAD328 – 3D Scripting
  • GAD395 – Game Animation
  • GAD411 - Designing Interior Spaces and Worlds
  • GAD412 – Level Design
  • GAD413 – Team Production I
  • GAD421 - Game Production Team
  • GAD422 – Portfolio Preparation for Game Art & Design
  • GAD431 – Interactive Game Prototyping
  • GAD432 – Portfolio
  • GAD443 – Team Production II
  • GAD444 – Team Production III
  • GADA243 - Programming for Artists
  • MAAA213 - 3D Modeling

I possess the credentials to instruct the following additional courses:

  • GAD101 - Intro to Game Development
  • GAD121 – Scriptwriting for Games and Multimedia
  • GAD132 – 2D Animation for GAD
  • GAD136 - Drawing and Anatomy for Game Art
  • GAD212 – Digital Storytelling
  • GAD213 – Game Production Pipeline
  • GAD216 – Texture Mapping for Games
  • GAD217 – 3D Animation
  • GAD218 – 3D Material and Lighting Techniques
  • GAD219 – Game Modeling
  • GAD220 – Principles of 3D Modeling
  • GAD291 – Storyboarding
  • GAD292 – Background Design and Layout
  • GAD293 – Sculptural Modeling
  • GAD315 – Advergames
  • GAD327 – Character Modeling
  • GAD312 – Game Design and Game Play
  • GAD313 – Programming for GAD
  • GAD332 – Interface Design
  • GAD392 – 3D Character Rigging
  • GAD393 – Lighting and Texture
  • GAD414 – Advanced Game Prototyping
  • GAD415 – Low Polygon Modeling and Animation
  • GAD416 – Advanced Level Design
  • GAD418 – Computer Simulations
  • GAD419 – Advanced Edutainment Development
  • C121 - Character and Object Animation
  • C122 - Life Drawing and Gesture
  • C123 – Life Drawing for Animation
  • C125 – Cinematic Storytelling
  • C131 - Drawing and Anatomies
  • C132 – Survey of Animation
  • C211 – Storyboard rendering for Animation
  • C213 – Advanced Life Drawing for Animation
  • C221 – Digital Editing – Video, Audio
  • C223 - Camera and Lighting Techniques
  • C230 - Advanced 2D Animation
  • C231 – Introduction to Digital Compositing
  • C234 – Principles of Animation
  • C240 – Creative & Production Management Techniques
  • C310 - Digital Ink and Paint
  • C312 – Computer 3D Workshop
  • C314 – 2D Digital Animation
  • C325 – Advanced 3D Modeling
  • C330 – Pre-Production Team
  • C334 – Web Animation
  • C410 – Production Team
  • C421 – Games
  • C444 – Advanced Software IV
  • C424 – Pre-Portfolio Presentation for Animation
  • C430 – Portfolio Presentation for Animation
  • C445 – Digital Sculpting and Texturing

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Education & Development

Memberships

  • IGDA (International Game Developers Association)
  • ACM SIGGRAPH (ACM Special Interest Group on Computer Graphics)
  • ACM-W (ACM’s Women in Computing)
  • ASIFA Colorado (Association Internationale du Film d'Animation)
  • CG Society (Society of Digital Artists)
  • Rocky Mountain Adobe User Group

Education & Professional Development

  • Master of Fine Arts, Interactive Design & Game Development, Savannah College of Art & Design, September 2013 - 2016 anticipated
  • UI & Data Design for Film, Learn Squared, October 2015 - December 2015
  • Digital Marketing Certification, Media Bistro, Spring 2015
  • Animals and Creatures Master Classes, Animation Mentor, Introduction to Animal and Creature Animation, September 2011 – December 2011
  • Animals and Creatures Master Classes, Animation Mentor, Advanced Creature Production, January 2012 – March 2012
  • Robb Pratt Story Board Master Classes, Jason Ryan Animation - March 2010 - December 2010
  • Series 2 Master Classes, Jason Ryan Animation, August 2009 - July 2010
  • Series 1 Master Classes, Jason Ryan Animation, August 2008 - July 2009
  • Fundamentals Master Classes, Jason Ryan Animation - February 2009
  • Master of Science, Computer Information Systems, Colorado State University, August 2002
  • Bachelor of Architecture, Carnegie Mellon University, December 1999

Conferences

  • FITC 2016 Conference, Toronto, Ontario
  • FITC 2016 Physical Computing Workshop, Toronto, Ontario
  • Art Institute of Pittsburgh EDMC Faculty Conference 2016, Online
  • Art Institute of Pittsburgh EDMC Faculty Conference 2015, Online
  • Art Institute of Pittsburgh EDMC Faculty Conference 2014, Online
  • Art Institute of Pittsburgh EDMC Faculty Conference 2013, Online
  • Annecy International Film Festival 2008, Annecy, France
  • SIGGRAPH 2006, Boston, MA
  • SIGGRAPH 2005, Los Angeles, CA
  • SIGGRAPH 2003, San Diego, CA
  • Thunder Lizard Web Design 2000, Denver, CO

Exhibitions

  • All Hands on Deck 2015, Launch Skate, Fort Collins, CO, August 2015
  • Shapes of Art 2012, Museum of Art, Fort Collins, CO, April 2012
  • Masks at MOCA 2010, Museum of Contemporary Art, Fort Collins, CO, April 2010
  • Masks at MOCA 2008, Museum of Contemporary Art, Fort Collins, CO, April 2008
  • Divine Intervention, Juried Art Exhibition, Denver, CO, August 2007
  • Femme Fatale, Juried Art Exhibition, Denver, CO, April 2007
  • Human Organics, Juried Art Exhibition, Fort Collins, CO, February 2007

Faculty Development

Faculty training, The Art Institute of Pittsburgh, EDMC, Webex Training Sessions:

  • The ONE Thing, January 2017
  • Storytelling in the Classroom, September 2016
  • Generation Z Goes to College, August 2016
  • Adobe – Where are they Headed and Why?, May 2016
  • An Overview of Library and Tutoring Resources for our Students, May 2016
  • Retrain Your Brain, May 2016
  • An Introduction to Mindfulness, May 2016
  • Microsoft OneNote as a Teaching Aid, May 2016
  • Sabbatical Presentation: Low Cost Eco Housing Prototypes, May 2016
  • The Sabbatical Process: How to Find Success with your Application, May 2016
  • Designing and Teaching Pinnacle Courses, May 2016
  • Pinnacle Platform Update – an Overview of Difference Engine, May 2016
  • English Live! Live Writing Support Across the Disciplines, May 2016
  • Flexing your Student Success and Retention Muscles, May 2016
  • Social Media Branding: Helping Students Make their Mark, May 2016
  • An Overview of the Faculty Committees May 2016
  • Academic Counseling Overview Session, May 2016
  • Museum Education and Encouraging Discussion in the Online Classroom, May 2016
  • Six Things You Can Do to Increase Student Learning, May 2016
  • How to Present Clear, Engaging and Effective Webinars, May 2016
  • Make it Stick: The Science of Successful Learning, April 2016
  • Gamification in Online Higher Education, March 2016
  • Disability Services Faculty Training, January 2016
  • Exploring Advanced Animation Techniques in Harmony 12, October 2015
  • Online Copyright, September 2015
  • Building your Educational Philosophy, September 2015
  • Tapping in to Multiple Intelligences, September 2015
  • Courage to Teach (6 week training), May 2015 - June 2015
  • Practical Magic, May 2015
  • Getting Portfolio Ready, May 2015
  • Bridging the Gap Between As and Fs, May 2015
  • Educational Leadership: Conflict Resolution and Building Intentional Relationships, May 2015
  • The Basics of Blogging, May 2015
  • Level Up Your Classroom: Tools for Gamifying Art Foundations Curriculum, May 2015
  • Community Outreach + Children + Art Awareness + Positive Mental Well-being, May 2015
  • Fostering Our Passion for Teaching, May 2015
  • Building Your Credibility as a Teacher, May 2015
  • Enhance with Behance, May 2015
  • Visual Communication: Five Principles of Effective Teaching and Learning, May 2015
  • Preparing Students for the Industry: Practices in Portfolio Building, May 2015
  • Success and Persistence Through Social Media, May 2015
  • Technology Check – Making Sure Our Students Our Prepared, May 2015
  • Best Practices for Military Students, March 2015
  • Handling Burnout, October 2014
  • Staying Driven as a Faculty Member, September 2014
  • Group Discussion Facilitation, July 2014
  • Benefits of Volunteering for Faculty and Students, May 2014
  • Maximizing the IDEA Survey, May 2014
  • Student Conduct Support, May 2014
  • Putting yourself in the Student’s Shoes and Ways to Improve your Teaching, May 2014
  • Increasing New Student Engagement, May 2014
  • Human Resource Services, May 2014
  • The Role Food Plays in our Lives, May 2014
  • Pinnacle Project, May 2014
  • Teaching Students How to Fish, May 2014
  • An Overview of Library Services, May 2014
  • Grad Team Overview, May 2014
  • Everything you Always Wanted to Know about Apps but were Afraid to Ask!, May 2014
  • Elements of Instructor Credibility, May 2014
  • Alumni Services Overview, May 2014
  • Adobe Lightroom Training, May 2014
  • The B.A. Degree in Visual Art: Pertinent History, Concepts, Life After School, May 2014
  • Bridging Gaps by Building Relationships, March 2014
  • Social Media, February 2014
  • Community of Inquiry Model, December 2013
  • Teaching in the Wake of Tragedy, October 2013
  • Online Topics and Trends in Education Parts I & II, October 2013
  • Dialects, Language Registers and Code Switching, October 2013
  • Synchronous Tools as Resources for Helping Students, Faculty Conference, June 2013
  • Community Building Online, Faculty Conference, June 2013
  • 5 Easy Techniques for Creating Substantial Participation in Discussion Threads, Faculty Conference, June 2013
  • Undergraduate Studies – Effective Outreach Efforts Making a Positive Impact on Students, Faculty Conference, June 2013
  • Serving Under–Resourced Students, Faculty Conference, June 2013
  • Student Retention in Online Education, Faculty Conference, June 2013
  • New Technology Tricks in the Classroom, Faculty Conference, June 2013
  • How to Build Faculty and Student Social Engagement Beyond the Classroom, Faculty Conference, June 2013
  • Faculty to Students Mentors: How are Students Responding?, Faculty Conference, June 2013
  • Academic Community Building 2.0, Faculty Conference, June 2013
  • 7 Principles of Good Teaching, Faculty Conference, June 2013
  • Ham & Cheese: Moving Beyond Sandwiching in Student Feedback, Faculty Conference, June 2013
  • The Meaning of MOOCs and the Future of Online Learning, Faculty Conference, June 2013
  • Survival Rituals for Remote Faculty, Faculty Conference, June 2013
  • Skype - best practices, Faculty Conference, June 2013
  • Web Strategies - Social Media & Building Community, Faculty Conference, June 2013
  • Are You on Auto-Pilot?, Faculty Conference, June 2013
  • Plagiarism in the Classroom, Faculty Conference, June 2013
  • The Marriage of Research and Practice: Being a Scholar is a Life Long Commitment, Faculty Conference, June 2013
  • Adobe Creative Cloud- A Start to finish workflow for the creative tomorrow, Faculty Conference, June 2013
  • Adobe Presents: The Digital Publishing Suite, Faculty Conference, June 2013
  • Adobe and HTML5 and the State of Web Design, Faculty Conference, June 2013
  • Faculty Forum, May 2013
  • Best Practices in Online Discussions, May 2013
  • Teaching the Advanced Student, October 2012
  • Applying the Theory of Transformative Learning, September 2012
  • Online Trends and Topics in Education, September 2012
  • Critical Thinking, September 2012
  • Stereotypes and Myths in the Classroom, August 2012
  • Online Meeting Etiquette, August 2012
  • Leadership in the Online Classroom, August 2012
  • Teaching the Advanced Student, August 2012
  • Staying Motivated, Keeping Interested, August 2012
  • Cultural Diversity Online, August 2012
  • Effective Learning, August 2012
  • Safety and Boundaries in the Online Classroom, October 2011
  • Netiquette in the Online Classroom, August 2011
  • Rubrics II: Holistic vs. Analytic Rubrics, August 2011
  • Developing as a Faculty Member, August 2011
  • Online Collaboration, August 2011
  • Rubrics I, April 2011
  • Time Management: Setting and Achieving Goals, April 2011
  • Time Management: Getting Organized, April 2011
  • How Adults Learn, March 2011
  • Learning Styles, March 2011
  • Generations in the Classroom, March 2011
  • Academic Integrity II: Upholding Standards in the Online Classroom, March 2011
  • Academic Integrity I: Identifying & Preventing Academic Dishonesty, March 2011
  • Personalizing the Classroom, March 2011
  • Influential Communications, February 2011
  • Emotional Intelligence in the Classroom, July 2010
  • Student Persistence, July 2010
  • Documenting Teaching Excellence, June 2010
  • EDMC Student and Career Services, June 2010
  • Digital Bookshelf Training, December 2010
  • Dealing with Difficult Students, May 2009
  • Real-Time Chat Strategies, May 2009
  • Demystifying the Adjunct/Coach Relationship, May 2009

Faculty training, The Art Institute of Pittsburgh, EDMC, Asynchronous Training:

  • ThinkingStorm Training, December 2013
  • Connections, April 2013
  • ClassLive Pro, April 2013
  • Teaching Millennial Students Online, July 2012
  • Bridges Out of Poverty, July 2012
  • FERPA Training, October 2011
  • Grading Tutorials, October 2011
  • Using the IDEA Survey, July 2011
  • Art Institute Online Faculty Common, July 2011
  • Art Institute Online Student Services, July 2011
  • My Students, July 2011
  • Americans with Disabilities Act, July 2011

Faculty training, The Art Institute of Pittsburgh & Brand Tool Box, 7 Weeks:

  • Living the Brand Workshop, December 2009 - February 2010

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Testimonials

"Sara I have to admit, the way you talk is so inspiring to me and it really pushes me to look even more deeper into myself in order to create things with meaning. I've been an artist for a long time and animation was never my nitch. I do a lot of anime character drawings that require a lot of anatomical knowledge. Making cartoon characters that have the Looney Toons touch was never something I was interested in, but for some reason, creating these whacky chars with the way you explain things is really helping me. Please continue, I need the push."

- MG

"Thank you Professor for the vast amount of knowledge you have shared with everyone, it has helped us grow to what we are now. Please inform me if you have any other classes that you teach, I sure would like to be in it."

- MO

"I think you're one of the best instructors I've had! You gave me ideas to overcome my problems I was having within my software. Also, I really like how you do the video critiques. I think it's easier to understand someone and what they mean when you hear them rather than reading what they think. You told us why things worked and didn't work, rather than saying 'good job'. Thanks for that, because simply saying 'good job' doesn't help a bit."

- KP

"This has been one of the better courses that i have taken. I loved the video critiques. It really felt like you took the time to review our animations and to fill us in on what you thought. It is so hard to convey so much information about a highly visual medium without such a critique. If there is anyway you can twist the arms of other AIO professors to do the same it would be great."

- TB

"You're one of the best online teachers I've ever had. Video/audio crits are a great way to help out us. No BS, you always answer all my questions, and are a dedicated teacher."

- BR

"First and foremost, I would like to thank Sara Wade for the job she does in instructing this class. I can say, and I genuinely mean this, that you have made this one of the more enjoyable classes I have had since I embarked on this journey. Looking back from when I began, this is without a doubt in the top three – and I truly mean that. One thing that stands out above all the rest that appreciate, and I am sure that my classmates would agree, is the video critiques on our assignments. It creates a more personal “classroom” style vibe, and it really gets the points across. An added bonus too is that it keeps you from having to do a lot of extra typing, and us from doing a lot of extra reading! This is the first class I have taken where an instructor did assignment evaluations that way, and I wish they ALL did it that way. I like it because you can show on the screen exactly what you are talking about, changes and alterations you suggest, and precisely what part you are referring to. There is no question to what you mean because it is right there on the screen in front of me! As I said, I love this, and I wish all my classes were done this way.

I also appreciate the way you make succinct statements that pinpoint accurately what looks “off”, what needs to be changed and more importantly “why”. That goes a long way when I am learning about these various processes. You go the extra mile to not only tell me what needs improvement but why it needs improving, and that makes a world of difference when as a student I want to understand all of the intricacies involved. Honestly, I think you do an awesome job in teaching this class, and I really can’t think of any areas that need development. I wish you all the best in your career, and I hope that my future classes were as enjoyable as this one! "

- SH

"I love how responsive you were, very to the point and detailed not only with what the problem was but how to fix it and information on the subject matter as well. My favorite part of the class was your critiques on youtube it provided a much clearer perspective on exactly what and where the attention was needed making it easier and faster to maintain and retain."

- JF

"I will take this opportunity to let you know that because of the time that you took to explain to me the critiques that you had for my work, you are one of the best instructors i have had sinnce attending this school. I thank you so much for taking that time, I think I have had one or two other instructors get that much involved in the teaching of their students."

- SH

"First I want to thank you for showing and teaching me more 3D animation fundamentals then I have learned in the past 4 four years. I know I benefitted by being the only student in the class but the video critiques where the best; not only could here your revision, but I could see what you where talking about and that helped me a lot, it really made my short and gave me the extra ambition to try and make it better.

Thank you so much for your time and direction...it made me a lot better. "

- RR

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Student Work

I run the Art Institute chapter of the IGDA (International Game Developers Association). Check out what my IGDA students are creating on the Project forums. We are currently creating a game about a robot called LiBot which was a finalist at the 2016 MIA Animation Festival GAME ON Competition

Play our last game development project here: Play the Nightmare!

Check out this video detailing what it's like to be part of the online IGDA chapter: What is Project Nightmare?

This is the game my IGDA students created in our January 2015 24 hour game jam: The Grim Escape. This was the first of our quarterly game jams for the Art Institute Online chapter of IGDA.

The Art Institute has some pretty confusing legal restrictions on public display of student work created in the classroom. I hope to find a way to do this very soon.

My students are amazing and I can't wait to share more of their work here.

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Influences

I am constantly influenced and inspired by all that surrounds me. The light just before sunset, a well designed space, an artfully crafted novel or a perfectly ripe garden tomato all inspire. My alma mater, Carnegie Mellon University, and the faculty, staff and students there have shown me the beauty of interdisciplinary thought and collaboration. It's an amazing thing to look at a problem through the eyes of another discipline. The melding of thoughts and resources from across varying fields of study has resulted in some of the most amazing discoveries and creations in human history.

I draw inspiration from too many amazing artists and animators to list here. Instead I will share a a few of the many teachers in my life who have most inspired both my work and my teaching:

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