ROBERTSON SCHOOL OF MEDIA AND CULTURE
VIRGINIA COMMONWEALTH UNIVERSITY
Jay Adams is an Assistant Professor in advertising at the Robertson School of Media and Culture at VCU. He currently teaches portfolio and campaigns courses with heavy emphasis on design and art direction and has led student teams to win numerous AAF ADDY awards on the local, regional and national levels. He holds a B.S. from Virginia Tech and an M.S. from the VCU Brandcenter where he graduated at the top of his class. Before becoming an educator, Jay spent 17 years working in the advertising industry as an art director, copywriter, graphic and web designer, and creative director. This connection to the industry enables him to continue working in the form of professional scholarship. His work has been recognized by numerous award programs and organizations. Jay’s professional experience drives his teaching methods as he engages students in real world projects, challenging them to work on regional and national clients such as Anthem, Capital One, Virginia Tourism and VCU.
HOW AND WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO MAKE EDUCATION A MEANINGFUL PART OF YOUR CAREER?
A student once asked why I became a professor instead of remaining in the advertising industry. Without hesitation I responded that teaching has been far more rewarding than anything I’ve accomplished elsewhere. My teaching style is not about demonstrating the knowledge of the instructor but about guiding students through a creative landscape, encouraging them to push the boundaries while providing support and resources along the way. The most successful work is often the result of a previous failure. And that’s ok, because it’s the nature of the advertising industry.
HOW DO YOU BALANCE THE TEACHING OF FUNDAMENTALS VERSUS THE NEED TO RESPOND TO THE FAST-CHANGING WORLD OF MEDIA, TECHNOLOGY AND CULTURE?
As technology continues to change at a rapid rate, the advertising industry remains in a constant state of flux. Staying active in the profession keeps me relevant and allows me to learn by doing, a philosophy that carries over into the classroom. I share my professional experiences in all of my classes, showing my work along with the process behind it. My course projects are also professionally-focused, as they present new challenges and opportunities while allowing students to explore and build upon their craft.