Nancy Ciolek is an Associate Professor teaching various courses in the M.F.A. Visual Communication Design program at RIT.
What brought you to Rochester Institute of Technology?
During my MFA degree coursework I actually came to RIT to attend a computer graphics design workshop. Two RIT professors came to ISU to lecture, and one of them came out monthly for a semester and conducted workshops with the students, and I served as his grad assistant. My former professor at ISU had once taught at RIT many years before. I was working as a designer in Indiana, and received a call from the RIT professor to apply for a Visiting Professor position that was open. I came to RIT in August, 1988. During my second year of teaching, I was offered a tenure-track position, which I accepted. The first few years here, I had to learn 3 different computer systems and softwares to teach computer graphics design. I also taught many electives in addition to graphic design major courses. I have served as Administrative Chair for the School of Design, Graduate Coordinator for MFA Computer Graphics Design program(now MFA VCD program) and most recently as Chairperson for the undergraduate Graphic Design program. I am still here and it has been quite a ride!
What is your role within your department?
Currently, I am teaching full time in the MFA Visual Communication Design program. I teach Thesis courses, Experiential Design, Design Systems, Branding and Identity Design, and other courses. I really enjoy the diversity of the students in the program.
Are you involved in any research at the moment? If so, please briefly describe:
I have completed co-writing a book with my colleague, Chris Jackson, called Digital Design in Action. It will be published in early 2016 by Taylor and Francis/Focal Press.
I also research integration of cultural literacy components into courses . This ties in to previous research and presentations/papers I have given relating designing for global audiences. I continue to further develop my knowledge and skills in experiential design, interactive and interface design, and various software. Currently I am taking an online certification course using Adobe Muse.
Doing work for non-profits is also an ongoing activity of mine. I work with Managing Autism Together Today (MATT), Deaf Education and Arts for African Families (DEAAF) and some RIT campus committees and organizations for women.
What is your favorite part of your job?
My favorite part is when I can work with a student and see their excitement and interest about their design work. I strive to do well with my teaching and to help students achieve their goals.
What is the most challenging part of your job?
This is not a 40 hour-a-week job. It requires odd hours, a multitude of skills, communication, and dedication. I do tend to speak my mind and that does not always sit well with all people, but life is short, so I am not going to waste any more time.
How do you like to spend your time outside of RIT?
Cooking is my favorite thing. Travel is second. I enjoy meeting with friends. I manage two Meetup.com social groups, so I get to meet new people and enjoy a variety of social activities at various times. I have started going to a gym this year and trying to keep fitness as part of my regular schedule. Health, physically and mentally, is important to me at this stage of life.