Lewis Jones Jr.
The CSUSM President’s Award for the academic year 2019-2020 named eleven recipients including Kristin Moss, Conner Whitten, Megan Hammerschmidt, Carla Jordan, Ruben Alamo, Alan Brown, Regina Eisenbach, Christina Simokat, Marshall Whittlesey, David Barsky and Keith Trujillo. Representing the School of Arts, Dr. Moss was the recipient of the “Outstanding Faculty Award for Teaching Innovation & Excellence”.
In a brief interview, Dr. Moss provided background on her distinctive work and innovating teaching methods. Having had taught at the university since 2007, some of the academic courses she teaches that offer innovative content include art & social change, museum practicum and non-profi t organization projects.
The art & social change course allows students to observe how artists lend their voice to social awareness, cultural and political movements. There are also projects for students to collaborate with local community partners including other educational institutions, nonprofi ts and on campus that provide tangible learning components that offer students the ability to put their learned skills to use.
A recent art & social change project during the fall 2019 semester, allowed her class to work with the Director of Economic Development for the City of San Marcos to create a public art plan for the neighborhood of Photo by Lewis Jones Jr. Dr. Kristin Moss poses with her President’s Award for Teaching Innovation & Excellence. North City. Also, in the fall 2019 semester her public art class collaborated with student veterans on campus and a local veteran’s association to create design ideas to extend a veteran’s memorial wall at a local park in San Marcos.
In her museum studies course, Museum Practicum, involves work with the California Center for the Arts in Escondido. The course allows students to work with the staff at the center by learning art handling, experience in a professional setting and putting up and taking down an art show.
Dr. Moss points out in the interview that taking advantage of these opportunities to work within the community further strengthen relationships between the university, the attending student body and the surrounding community. She expressed that these relationships create post-graduation opportunities for her students by providing them exposure to potential references for letters of recommendation, internships, volunteering or support for graduate school through mentorships.
Furthermore, she explained that her curriculum is designed to approach learning the arts holistically to stimulate engagement and relevancy by developing connections to local community partnerships through projects and applying what is learned in the classroom.
A feature of Dr. Moss’ research, teaching methods and creative activities through art and media design, is the interconnectedness of her project curriculum; in which students can observe, assist in projects and understand how art processes.
It also incorporates group learning and cross-cultural exposure to encourage self-discovery, personal interests and natural strengths. She believes her role as a professor requires her to be a learner, whether it’s from individual students, group collaborations with students or local community partners. Her view on the teaching model encourages a collective learning environment through exchange, dialogue and hands on experience.
In addition, she recognizes the university for cultivating an environment that allows for community collaborations and believes a strength of Cal State University San Marcos is the forward thinking and innovative curriculum that it offers to its students.