As programs continue to be upgraded, and students push to stay on top of new technology, unit adjunct instructor of communication design Julie Becker is constantly learning and growing as both teacher and graphic designer. In a sense, she is living what she is teaching, which is to learn and then learn some more.
It was this desire to learn that led her to an ECC web-design course taught by Tim Kaar. After Kaar learned of her Master’s degree and previous teaching experience, he opened the door for Becker to join the faculty here.
Becker finds students generally enter the program with a vast range of knowledge from beginner to advanced, so it can be challenging to keep everyone working together throughout each module. She says the challenges are worth it.
“I feel such an overwhelming sense of accomplishment when a student leaves the course for the last time and states that they enjoyed the course and will continue to pursue a life filled with learning,” said Becker.
We caught up with Becker to learn more about her life and her work at ECC. Here is what she had to say:
In your words, what do you do at ECC?
I am an instructor in the Communication Design Department and currently teach online classes in graphic design. In the past I’ve taught both online and classroom-setting courses ranging from introductory to advanced design. I’m always encouraged to see the amount of knowledge the students gained in just two short years.
What would you do if you were ECC president for a day?
I would spend the day roaming the halls and activity areas to have informal discussions with ECC students.
If there was a movie about your life, who would you want to play you?
Where was the best place you’ve traveled to? Or, where would you like to visit?
I’d love to travel to San Francisco, San Antonio, Austin and Boston; and overseas to Germany, Italy, and Greece.
What’s one fact we should know about you?
I grew up in a farming community just north of Champaign-Urbana. My dad was a truck driver and my mom worked for the Rantoul City schools. However, many of our family members are farmers, so I spent my summers, along with my older brother, walking beans (pulling weeds out of bean fields) and mowing huge lawns. Weekends were spent with extended family. Happy memories include large family reunions with wiener roasts, hay-racks full of food, and horse troughs filled with ice-cold pop. The simpler times.
What’s something about your job that others should know?
Students in the graphic design department may learn more than good design and production skills. Many classes include critiques as students learn how to communicate their thoughts and processes, and sometimes need to defend their work, as if they were talking to a client. Off-topic discussions during or after class can be beneficial to both the student and instructor.
What would be your “theme song?”
Either “Humble and Kind” by Tim McGraw or “I Can Only Imagine” by Mercy Me.
What was your favorite class in school (could be elementary, high school or college)?
I enjoyed the required art classes in college, but my favorite class was photography. I spent many hours driving the country roads around Eastern Illinois University taking photographs of dilapidated barns and homes for a project. The serene settings during sunrises and sunsets, the shadows, the stories and wonders of those buildings captured my attention.
What was your first job out of school?
After graduating with my Masters from EIU, I moved to Bloomingdale. I took a job in retail as I searched for something in my field. Fortunately, it only took a few months before landing a graphic design job at a small family business in Wheaton. I did a lot of typesetting and some design work. It was nothing remarkable, but I learned Quark Xpress, the design business, and met some great people before moving on.
What quote best describes your philosophy?
“The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.” — William A. Ward. Being “inspirational” would equal success in my book; this is something I hope to achieve.
Complete this sentence: “I enjoy working at ECC because…“
…I get to interact with students of all ages, ethnicities, and abilities. I don’t believe a teacher can reach every student, but there are opportunities to enrich the lives of others, and that is a gift.