This week I’m writing student progress reports for my freshman students at RISD. I always write the reports within a week after final reviews; if I wait any longer, my thoughts aren’t quite as crisp and I have a harder time being specific in the reports.
I had 40 students this semester, so writing these reports is very time consuming. I can’t write the reports in one sitting either, I have to spread out the writing over several days so I can come back and revise the reports with a fresh eye. I try to be succinct, but once I start writing, I find that there is so much to say. This approach takes more time, but I think it’s important to explain things thoroughly to make sure that the report is coherent.
I also understand how meaningful these reports are for the students. I know this because I was a RISD student once, and I vividly remember the tremendous impact these reports had on me. Reading the reports cemented my progress, and provided a sense of accomplishment that made all of the late nights worth it.
Today I unearthed my own student progress reports from when I was a student at RISD. The reports shown below were written by Fred Lynch, Alba Corrado, and Fritz Drury, all of whom are now my colleagues.
I was petrified of Alba Corrado when I met her the spring semester of my freshman year in 1995. Her teaching methods and assignments were vastly different than what I had experienced in my 3D class in the previous semester. I was terribly worried that I wasn’t equipped with the technical skills and thinking strategies necessary to surviving in her class. Alba revolutionized my thought process and understanding of 3D concepts. Eventually, I discovered that she was a brilliant teacher who was also a lovely person.
When I took Fred Lynch’s class over Wintersession in 1996, I was a complete wreck. I had a miserable experience in the fall semester of my sophomore year, and decided to switch into the Illustration department. Fred’s class was the one requirement that I had to make up in order to change majors. I had no idea what to expect, and at the time, I didn’t even really know what illustration was. I didn’t feel confident about switching majors either. A friend of mine switched and I followed him because I didn’t know what else to do. Fred’s class turned out to be a pivotal moment in my time at RISD. His class was refreshing, exciting and highly stimulating. I didn’t know that group crits could be so challenging, and yet have me laughing throughout. I couldn’t have asked for a smoother, more inspiring transition into the Illustration department.
Fritz Drury’s class was my first drawing class in the Illustration department in the spring semester of my sophomore year. After taking Fred Lynch’s class over Wintersession, I was all revved up and ready to go. Fritz’s class fulfilled every creative craving I had. I couldn’t wait to get started on my homework assignments, and class sessions fostered a new level of engagement with my work. I knew then that I was finally in the right place.