The University of Denver Library Archives took possession on November 20, 2017 of my 40 years of professional materials such as articles, books, publications, notes, doctoral research papers and notes, research raw data, correspondence, teaching manuals and syllabi, slides, exhibition records, workshops and lectures, and special projects. It was hard to turn over a new leaf and say goodbye to a wonderfully fulfilling career in regard to researching the nature of artist intelligence, which led to a Kellogg Post Doctoral Fellowship in Adult Learning Research.
What drove me to this work was years of thinking differently from others, starting as a child (much more spatial and wholistic in nature) and not having this ability to reason displayed on tests.…something I would have to learn. I could find the answer in my head without going through the linear thinking process. Yet, most testing dealt with the process and not necessarily the outcome or product. It was like a puzzle for me. A good example is when I had to take beginning and advanced statistics in my doctoral program. I was scared to death that I could not do it. Well, luckily I had one of the best teachers around, and he gave open book tests. However, these were what was called “power tests’ where the answer to the first question plugged into the second question and so on. So, if you missed the correct answer to the first question, you were toast. One had no time to look up anything because there were so many questions/problems on the test. You either knew it or did not. Everyone laughed at me when I came to the first test with three huge color-coded butcher papers showing how to jump from one concept to another and what the possibilities were for interaction, much like how my thinking process works. I spread the papers out on the floor in front of my desk, going way off alone. Needless to say, I got top grades in all of these statistic classes and loved math for the first time in my life. I began to see that I needed to use what I knew as my thinking style and convert my pictures into objective responses. My way was not an inferior manner of thinking, as I had been led to believe throughout my life. On the contrary, I thought with my hands as representative of the mental spatial process. This was an artist’s way of processing information.
I got my doctorate in 1987 from the University of Denver. The instruction in research methodology was superb. One of the most wonderful aspects about this program was that I was allowed to take classes at Stanford University in California to study with Dr. Elliot W. Eisner. He was the leading person in my field at the time. While at Stanford, I had the opportunity to explore its wonderful library of primary resources. I copied everything important to my research and spent hours reading the fantastic collection materials. Many of these out-of-print materials were referenced in my own work. This is what inspired me to leave my collection of primary materials to an archival collection for others to develop and grow from my experiences. To me this is what education is about, not just giving back what is being taught by a specific professor, but utilizing aspects of the learning process for one’s own unique approach.
Throughout the years I had the privilege of co-authoring, co-editing, and serving on committees and national organizations with some of the brightest and most prolific people in my field. They made me work harder to know my craft better in order to contribute. For that, I am grateful to have been their colleague. I loved teaching and knowing my students, as well. They challenged me to reach a higher level of knowledge and self awareness. I really loved what I did throughout the time I remained in my field of endeavor. One cannot ask for more than that in life.