Meaghan A. Dee is an Assistant Professor and Chair of the Visual Communication Design Program at Virginia Tech. She earned her BFA in Graphic Design from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana and her MFA in Design from Virginia Commonwealth University. Prior to joining Virginia Tech, Meaghan worked professionally as a designer for the architecture and design firm Marnell Companies, where she regularly collaborated with architects, interior designers, and industrial designers on large-scale resorts. Her design focus is on branding, typography, editorial design, user experience, and packaging. She regularly collaborates on freelance design projects and grant research. She is a part of the Communication Design team on the FutureHAUS which is a prototype for the home of the future. Her work has been recognized nationally and internationally by the American Advertising Federation, AIGA, GDUSA, Graphis, and Hiii Typography. Meaghan is currently on the steering committee for the AIGA Design Educators Committee and serves as the faculty director for the local AIGA student chapter. In her spare time, she mails individually designed postcards to strangers, which are documented at http://meaghandee.tumblr.com.
HOW AND WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO MAKE EDUCATION A MEANINGFUL PART OF YOUR CAREER?
Since I was a child, teachers have encouraged me to make creative work. In high school, a teacher went so far as to tell my parents, “I know Meaghan is good at math, but I think she might actually be able to make it in the arts.” (As a side note: I was fortunate to have parents who supported my choice to go to art school.) Being inspired by my own teachers made me want to provide this motivation for others. Additionally, I have a selfish attraction to teaching: I love learning. Any time I spend teaching is also time spent discovering new ideas.
IS THERE A SPECIAL CHALLENGE TO EDUCATING STUDENTS IN 2017 IN LIGHT OF TODAY’S CULTURE OR POLITICS OR ECONOMICS OR TECHNOLOGY OF THIS MOMENT?
Every year comes with its own challenges, but this year’s events are very directly impacting universities. For instance, I have many international students, and the proposed travel ban has made several of them too fearful to visit their families in their home countries because they worry that they will not be able to re-enter the United States. I truly want all students to feel welcome in my classroom, which can be a challenge when students do not feel welcome in the country. Additionally, I’m a researcher and am concerned about funding opportunities that are being cut, such as the proposed elimination of funding for the National Endowment for the Arts.