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'Community Engaged Scholarship', by Amy Leidtke, after serving as Presidential Faculty Fellow, Rhode Island Campus Compact, 2013-2014.Pedagogy. I am interested in the intersection of design and education. I teach people about design, communication, empathy, creativity, and collaboration, skills that help propel twenty-first century innovation. My teaching philosophy is motivated by a love for the subject and I strive to ignite the same curiosity in the minds of my students. I am respectful of cognitive and cultural diversity and set a tone of inclusivity in the classroom. My pedagogical practice is multidisciplinary, reflective, evolving, and occurs at a variety of levels. 

Background. Since 1995, I have enjoyed working in variety of K-20 teaching and learning scenarios, informal and formal. I facilitate participatory design workshops for children and families, work with urban youth during afterschool visual arts programs, serve as designer-in-residence in primary and secondary schools, conduct professional development workshops for K-16 educators, and teach undergraduate and graduate level industrial design curriculum at one our world’s most respected art and design schools, RISD. 

College Level Teaching. I am a faculty member in the Department of Industrial Design at Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), where I teach design courses at undergraduate and graduate levels. A sampling of past RISD college-level studio courses include Curiosita: Practical Applications for Innovative Thinking, Nature-Inspired Design Innovation: An Exhibit Project, Introduction to Industrial Design, Sketching and Rendering for Industrial Design, Industrial Design Principles, Industrial Design Investigations, Spatial Dynamics, Drawing Boot Camp, and Industrial Design Graduate Studio. Recent Independent Studies include Tensegrity and Design for Good projects.

Continuing Education. I am a faculty member in the Department of Continuing Education at RISD, where I teach design courses, for K-16 and adult levels. A sampling of past studio classes (for college credit) include Introduction to Industrial Design and Sketching and Rendering for Industrial Design. I exercised my affinity for Rube Goldberg in a children's class titled, Cool Contraptions: Toy of the Century. I developed a series of unique family workshops such as 3, 2, 1... Blastoff! Water Rockets, Joy of Drawing, Colossal Colorfields, and Sculptural Snacks + Edible Edifices.

Residencies. I am a master teaching artist, having served as a Designer-In-Residence with public and private schools, working with children, youth and educators to create fun, interactive products and experiences within the context of academically integrated curriculum. Programs focus on themes including but not limited to brainstorming, collaboration, empathy, communication, drawing and design thinking. Past residencies include RISD's Project Open Door, Hope High School, Community Preparatory School, J.M. Walsh School for the Performing and Visual Arts.

Professional Development. I am a faculty member at SmART Schools, which provides K-12 educators with professional development opportunities, “… dedicated to creating arts-infused schools and classrooms where students of all backgrounds are inspired to meet high academic standards.” Working with K-12 teachers has allowed me to test out some of my unique hands and minds-on curriculum such as Seeing and Making Mathematical Paper Structures and Nature-Inspired Design Innovation.

Partnerships. I am on the Arts in Education Roster of Rhode Island State Council on the Arts (RISCA), a program endorsed by The New England Consortium of Art-Educator Professionals (NECAP).

Advising. I am a RISD faculty advisor for the Edna Lawrence Nature Lab, an informal learning environment that houses over 80,000 species.

Learning. I am an active learner and highly curious. I recently participated in RISD's Design Division of Graduate Studies Department of Teaching + Learning in Art + Design's Professional Development + Teaching Advancement Program. Additionally, I recently completed college level coursework in politics, economics, philosophy, and anthropology.

Lecturing. See the ENGAGEMENTS page for a listing of lectures and presentations.

Writing. I am author of RISD Design Connections: Curriculum Tools for Design Education, which includes a set of design skill-building projects for middle and high school students.

Contact me if you would like to learn more about any of these projects or would like to discuss a future collaboration.