Keri Shurtliff has a Master in Art and Bachelor in Art from the Dominican University of California. She is a member of the College Art Association (CAA). In addition to teaching at FIDM, she has taught courses in the UCLA Extension program. She has been an archives assistant at Bill Graham Presents, a gallery administrator at Linda Jones Enterprises/Chuck Jones Studio Gallery, and an academic reviewer for Janson’s Basic History of Art.
Describe a favorite class project.
In my “Research on Topics of Design History” course students are expected to craft a 6-8 paged research essay on a specific object (work of art / design). The focus of the research is on how and why the object looks like it does. Typically, students do not believe they can complete such an essay. It is very rewarding when they do! I introduce students to the tools they need to critically analyze the object and complete deep and meaningful research. I love seeing the connections made between the socio-historical context and the aesthetics of an object. I approach the study of an object as an understanding of it a visual document of a particular time and place.
Do you have a particular style or philosophy about teaching?
The core of my teaching philosophy is to make it fun! Keep it interesting, relevant, applicable, and tangible. I strive to make the topics examined in my classes relatable to the 21st century. So many students arrive in my classes saying, “I hated taking history in high school” or “history was so boring.” I yearn to flip that script. Art, architecture, and design history is relevant to each of the majors taught at FIDM. One never knows where their inspiration will come from!
Do you have a favorite memory teaching at FIDM?
I have a recent funny memory. A student in my “Research on Topics of Design History” class was writing his essay on the 1947 Brooklyn Dodgers baseball hat. He was “stuck” in his research. To help, I offered to consult my father (who is a baseball history aficionado) for information. During the conversation my father suggested that the student consult Wikipedia. I was horrified! In all of my classes, I stress to my students that Wikipedia is not an academic site and should not be used as a source. Did I mention my dad was on speaker? It was a funny moment.
What do you enjoy most about teaching at FIDM?
My colleagues and the students in my classes. Their willingness to be so accepting of when I get really excited about a work of art and / or a historical event. And, having moments such as the one that I just described above.
Keri Shurtliff is an Outstanding Faculty Award Winner, an award given by the student body to outstanding faculty members.
Please Note: The information contained herein was confirmed at the time of original publication.