By Lily Kalczewski
Harboring an impressive past, Belinda Haikes joins the College as the assistant professor of visual arts, where her courses are primarily based on design, web and graphics. She will be teaching Typography as well as an introductory course on web production.
Born in South Africa, raised in Canada and now residing in Philadelphia, Haikes can be referred to as a modern day renaissance woman.
She has interests ranging from art, designing, writing, gardening and teaching. Not only has she lived in a variety of places, but she has also been featured in a variety of exhibitions. Notably, she won third place in Radius 250 in 2013. She was also named a Digital Graffiti Award Finalist in 2012.
Haikes earned her Ph.D. in media, art and text from Virginia Commonwealth University and an M.F.A. from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. Before coming to the College, she was an assistant professor of interactive design at West Chester University.
“I love the approach to teaching that TCNJ uses,” Haikes said. “It’s student-focused, and it’s a campus where students and faculty help each other to learn new knowledge.”
She added that she also appreciates how the College views its students holistically — the students are listened to and their interests are embraced, she said.
As for her expectations as a professor, she hopes to instill both a “passion for learning and a passion for design” in her students. Haikes wants her students to realize that it’s an exciting time to be a designer and that there are many possibilities for them to pursue.
Additionally, Haikes values the importance of collaboration and wants her students to expand their ideas in class to outside experiences. Haikes hopes they will take advantage of all their resources.
“There are opportunities for real world learning and opportunity to work on large projects,” she said.
Haikes is currently designing an app with a digital humanities scientist, where they are mapping out Philadelphia to show residents nearby places that they can success- fully harvest plants, fruits and vegetables.
The app can also identify potentially harmful spots, which, for example, could reduce the risk of children in the area getting lead poisoning. There are over 100 people involved with the project so far, however, Haikes plans to extend an invitation to her students.
It will allow her students to transfer what they learn in class to real world projects, as well as being a step towards doing good in the world. This year, Haikes is eager to further her teaching career at the College while continuing to try and make a difference, one student or project at a time.