General Studies Instructor Has Written For Vogue and Glamour
Born in Rochester, New York and raised in nearby Brighton, Instructor Hilary Iker holds a B.A. in English from University of Virginia and a Master of Professional Writing from University of Southern California. A professional writer with credits including Vogue, Los Angeles Times, SELF, Glamour, and Disney Channel, Hilary teaches English Composition, Critical Thinking, and Writing Skills in the General Studies department at FIDM, where she’s been an instructor since 2010. We recently caught up with her to learn more about her teaching techniques, how she inspires students’ curiosity, and why writing skills are so important.
Tell us a bit about your freelance writing career: I have a background in journalism; my first job out of college was at Vogue Magazine. My print publication credits include Prevention, SELF, Glamour, and FIT.
How would you characterize your teaching techniques? I focus on teaching the writing process and allowing the creative effort of writing to unfold without too much stress in that context. For me, writing comes from a sacred, creative place, so I try to establish a safe environment and minimize anxiety. I give students the opportunity to rewrite and revise. I have a WordPress blog where students post final papers at the end of the quarter for extra credit. This lets them see each other’s finished work product, and it helps them to feel they too can accomplish it. I create a learning-centered environment, where students take an active approach to teach each other and to develop their respective and collective critical thinking.
What is your favorite thing about FIDM Students? My favorite thing about FIDM students is how creative, inspired, and open-minded they are. Many relocate from completely different environments to fashion school in Downtown L.A. This takes courage and an independent spirit. FIDM students are dreamers, and I admire that quality in them.
In English Comp, how do you inspire students' curiosity and research? I try to help them make connections to their reality and to what is happening in their world right now. I emphasize that the General Studies skillset can help them to understand and to make sense of the world they inhabit. Students are introduced to the FIDM subscription research databases. I encourage them to apply meta-cognition, to “think about their thinking,” and to generate a research topic close to their heart. This inspires them to become passionate and to do deeper, more meaningful research.
Each week we talk about how writing is a lifelong skill that has the power to make them more competitive and successful. I emphasize that a class like English Composition, even though it’s not major-specific, is relevant as a building block to becoming a better writer.
How do writing skills benefit FIDM Students? My students know that writing can help them to “get what they want,” so to speak, whether it might be a dream job, social media clicks and follows, invitations, bank loans and funding for their product, updating brand websites, acceptance into graduate school, and other positive outcomes.
Learn more online at hilaryiker.com.