Christina is a tenure-track Assistant Professor of Art, Graphic Design at The University of Tampa (UT). She coordinates the BFA Graphic Design and B.A. Design programs, and serves as Internship Coordinator and Website Admin for the UT Department of Art+Design, an academic advisor to graphic design majors, and serves on various departmental and university-wide committees. While at UT, she has been heavily involved in recruitment, and helped interview and hire six professors (3 adjuncts and 3 full-time). She also oversaw a graphic design student employee for the department for a year and a half, over which the student created designs for the department and gallery.
Singer has taught Typography 1, Typography 2, Foundations: Digital Art, Graphic Design 2, Graphic Design Portfolio, Design Thinking, First-Year Seminar: Design Thinking, Special Projects, BFA Graphic Design Capstone, and Design Travel Courses. This page highlights Singer’s diverse teaching experiences. View student work.
Singer took an education abroad scouting trip to South Korea for UT in 2019, and proceeded to create and successfully recruit students for a 2020 UT faculty-led design travel course to Seoul, South Korea (travel canceled due to COVID-19, taught online).
She also assisted with an art/design UT travel course to NYC in Spring 2019, for which she organized and led tours at several design firms scattered around NYC and arranged for students to participate in a workshop with Ellen Lupton at the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum.
Other Experiences with Graphic Design in Higher Education
Singer presented a design guest lecture to a group of international business and entrepreneurship students at the 2019 Sungkyunkwan University summer intersession in Seoul, South Korea. The lecture included a design thinking workshop with a topic of “identifying problems with the modern dating experience” that focused on conducting depth interviews to generate empathy and define problems.
Guest Lecturing & Mentoring
Singer also guest lectured in Visual Methods, Typography 1, and Typography 2 classes while in graduate school at the University of Florida. She was also part of the group that selected modular furniture from Herman Miller to furnish UF’s Mint Design Studio space in Infinity Hall. During that time she worked with fellow graduate students, Daniel Leonardos and Jiaming Li, to rebrand Mint and define the studio’s mission and learning outcomes for future students. She participated in the UF graphic design club VoxGraphics as a mentor and attended the club’s design studio tour trips to Atlanta, Chattanooga, Charlotte, and Tampa.
Singer led workshops on multiple occasions for students at UF. Here are some images and files from a workshop:
Typography 1, University of Florida: Guest Workshop
- workshop pictures + student work (.pdf)
- workshop plan (.pdf)
- exercise (Google Drive .zip: .indd, .idml, fonts, and images)
The goal of this workshop was to equip students with a foundational knowledge of typesetting within a grid-based layout and to provide an introduction to some functions of InDesign. The workshop consisted of benchmarking magazine brands, a software demonstration, a rapid prototyping design exercise, printing, and a mini-critique.
Teaching in Korea
From August 2014–August 2015, Singer taught English as a Foreign Language at Changjin Elementary School in Sasang-gu, Busan, South Korea through the Korean government program EPIK (English Program in Korea). She was the only foreign teacher at the medium-sized public school. Singer taught grades 3–6 with Korean co-teachers for classes during normal school hours, and she taught her own after-school classes with small groups of 4–10 students. She was responsible for planning/directing summer and winter break English camps.
Design Thinking Egg Drop Challenge
This design thinking exercise involved group problem-solving by a process of sketching and rapid prototyping. Each group had a kit of materials that they could choose to use or disregard. There was only one egg for each group; so, although the students could speculate how their device would protect the egg based off their test flights, the final launch from the 5th floor was the true test. Afterwards, they examined design elements that caused devices to fail or succeed. View the exercise description from Jump Start.
Design Thinking Spaghetti Marshmallow Challenge
This exercise was similar to the Egg Drop Challenge in process; however, given that testing the noodle devices did not destroy the marshmallow like testing eggs could in the Egg Drop Challenge, groups were able to iterate their designs more effectively. View the exercise description from Stanford d.school.
Design Thinking Catapult Challenge
Similar to the design thinking processes used in the Egg Drop Challenge and the Spaghetti Marshmallow Challenge, the Catapult Challenge encouraged groups to iterate their designs by rapid prototyping.
This activity had multiple rounds of competition to encourage iterative design. Groups had a fixed amount of time to sketch and build their catapults and ammunition with the materials in their kits. Then, groups met in the hallway to test their devices and measure the travel distance of their launched ammunition. Students noted how they could improve their designs and came to the next round of the competition with their altered prototypes. This process repeated three times, and the final group scores were cumulative.
Learning Cursive + Group Typography Posters
Korea doesn’t have cursive writing in its public elementary school curriculum. Singer introduced cursive writing to her 5th and 6th grade students during winter English camp. After a few exercises learning the letterforms, groups of students worked together to create expressive typography posters using cursive letterforms and shapes.
Native American Symbols
Singer used various symbols from different Native American cultures to teach her students some English terms. The students learned about some Native American objects, such as totem poles, dreamcatchers, and teepees. While crafting these objects, students listened to Native American instrumental music. The goal in these activities and presentations was to share a glimpse of Native American culture with the students. Singer’s parents taught at a school on the St. Francis Lakota reservation in South Dakota for about a decade, and when she was growing up in the Cherokee land of Chattanooga, her mom presented Native American history and objects at local schools on occasion.
Singer used some of her personal interests to engage students in active learning. From Simon Says Yoga to typical American field day activities and crafts, students learned English while taking a break from the rigor of the Korean education system.
Prescription vs. Co-creation
Young children love to role-play and use their imagination. This can be observed on the playground during recess or in the backseat of a car. How can this natural phenomenon of play be most effectively incorporated into the classroom for active learning?
The two videos below exhibit the students role-playing. In the first video, Let’s Go Out to Eat, students followed a prescribed script that Singer wrote. In the second video, students relied on the scripts they created on their own with her occasional assistance with grammar and vocabulary. In both cases, the students involved ranged from beginner to advanced in English-speaking skill level.
Findings: Singer found that the co-creative strategy of role-play development produced a more effective learning environment than the prescription method. In the co-creative exercise, higher-level students used more advanced English and challenged themselves and their classmates to learn how to use English to describe situations they dreamt up. Elements of humor and error arose from the co-creative method that created teaching opportunities. These findings support the child-centered Montessori Method of education.