PENNSYLVANIA COLLEGE OF ART & DESIGN
Pam Barby is an Assistant Professor and Chair of the Graphic Design Department at Pennsylvania College of Art & Design. Influenced by her grandfather, a painter in Lancaster PA, Pam developed a love for art and design at a young age. Expanding her influences and passion for design began during her years at Kutztown University. After graduation, Pam worked at an inhouse design department within the beauty industry, and then moved on to a small design studio creating a variety of print work. Her freelance career began in 2001, and an invitation to teach at PCA&D followed in 2005.
With 33 years of designing experience, Pam brings a commitment to teaching that is cultivated by a desire to share and give back. This mindset has also spread among her students as they give back to the community in a college-wide event called Designathon that she initiated 10 years ago. Designathon is a 24-hour event providing free design services to the local non-profits, where alumni, students, and faculty give of their time and talents to design for good. As chair of the department, Pam continues to assess the curriculum and work with faculty to provide the best education and student learning experience at PCA&D.
HOW AND WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO MAKE EDUCATION A MEANINGFUL PART OF YOUR CAREER?
My teaching career found me, and I never looked back. The energy and enthusiasm of PCA&D students is captivating. The rewards of being an educator go beyond the classroom. Being part of an individual’s growth and development is a privilege. Knowing that they are prepared for a life in art, a career that allows them to do what they love, is very gratifying. The students make me a better person. My goal is not only to impart to my students a great education, but also a belief and confidence in themselves so they can make a difference.
HOW DO YOU BALANCE THE TEACHING OF FUNDAMENTALS VERSUS THE NEED TO RESPOND TO OUR FAST-CHANGING WORLD OF MEDIA, TECHNOLOGY AND CULTURE?
The core teaching of design fundamentals will always guide and balance the fast-changing world of media, technology and culture. While keeping the best interest of our students in mind, I have the advantages of working with a talented team of faculty who are also design professionals, which makes assessment and progression of the curriculum both focused and rewarding. The challenge to fit all the material in and keep the content relevant will always be part of the paradigm.
Photograph by Joshua Gingerich, PCA&D graphic design graduate, class of 2018