faculty profile: PATRICK LEE LUCAS

April 19, 2011 § Leave a comment

As we reported on March 31, Patrick Lee Lucas received the prestigious 2011 University of North Carolina Board of Governors Excellence in Teaching Award for UNCG.  As promised, in this post, we focus on Patrick’s teaching philosophy and the impact of his teaching both within and beyond IARc.  After his eight years teaching in IARc, many IARc students have had the opportunity to learn from Patrick in the history and theory of design courses, graduate seminars in material culture or research methods, or studio, but his influence stretches beyond IARc and includes first year seminars in the Lloyd International Honors College and an Emeritus course in the Division of Continual Learning.

Patrick embraces the idea that design surrounds us and explores how design impacts our daily lives at multiple scales within the classroom.  His passion for not only what he teaches, but also the act of teaching, reveals itself within minutes of meeting him and never seems to wane.  Patrick does more than merely create classroom environments that offer new learning experiences; he structures his classes to encourage students to produce their best work.  Second year student Kara Kooy explains, “Patrick has a unique ability to cultivate a multi-level learning experience with each new project he assigns. He also has a genuine interest in his students’ well-being and growth as designers.” And Cassie Bradfield bolsters this point by saying, Patrick ” ingrains valuable knowledge by theorizing the backgrounds behind the material he teaches. In his design history class, this practice taught me more than names and dates, resulting in an ability to answer a multi-faced answer to why specific designs came about. You walk away from his class feeling confident to carry what you learned for a long time.”

He understands that great work comes from the ability to apply the concepts and theories he teaches, so he nourishes the process of application rather than focusing only on the end product.  Second year student Brian Peck reinforces this point, explaining, “Patrick is an instructor that instills pride.  We always consider the effort put into a project for Patrick, submitting substandard work is not an option.  His passion for his craft flows through his students.”

Patrick’s commitment to community also shines through in his teaching, and his ability to make ability to connect ideas and people across time, discipline, and subject matter offers his students a well-rounded understanding of any concept he teaches.  Since he started teaching at UNCG, Patrick conceived of and participated in many community-based projects including THE LOEWENSTEIN LEGACY, an exhibit design studio to celebrate Greensboro’s modernist buildings throughout the community.  Fourth year student Mira Eng-Goetz reflects on the impact of community-based learning in the “Community by Design” studio Patrick taught:

“I was challenged to address the local public transportation system, taking into account elements such as Southern history, the Civil Rights Movement, community needs, poverty, disparity, and segregation. This project led me out of the studio and into the community, where Patrick has taught me to seek insight and diverse perspectives. By the end of the course, I had acquired the skill to collaborate across social boundaries to design for social change”.

Students from a variety of backgrounds and majors comment on the impact of Patrick’s teaching:

“As a prior fine arts major, I have taken a fair share of art history classes.  I think Patrick’s teaching methods are unique in that he doesn’t just show slides and lecture, but encourages us to think about inter-relationships over time and space, constantly reinforcing what we’ve previously studied.  By going on field studies, we are invited to take our knowledge and apply it directly to the community while it’s still fresh in our mind.  He is extremely organized.  Making his presentation format consistent and understandable really makes the content stick in my memory.  He is engaging and motivating.  We all appreciate the time and effort he puts into each class and he is well respected by all the students.  Thanks Patrick!” -Holly Burda

“I enjoy Patrick’s teaching style. The class becomes interesting and fun. He seems to care. He makes the material easier to embrace through writing interpretations unlike other teachers who focus soley on memorization.”-Jonathan Pearl

“As I sat through the spring semester, I came to learn that Patrick Lucas is more than an exemplary instructor. I am reminded of the verse “And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all.” Matt. 10:44   Patrick serves and inspires his students with genuine passion of the knowledge and concern for the students. He does not look down, but rather he lifts others up to a higher place with enthusiasm.”– Maureen Peterson 

“Coming from someone outside the major, one thing that is imperative to a great class is the interest of the teacher in the material. Dr. Lucas’s pursuit in becoming an architecture professor has allowed this class to be highly informative, well thought out and organized and most importantly interesting and thought provoking. Even though I’m from a different area in learning, this class has brought a whole new world to think about. Thanks Dr. Lucas!” – Alexander Sayre

“I think it’s wonderful Patrick won the teaching award, he deserves it.  I had him as an instructor for IAR 222 (History & Theory of Interior Design 1) and I am currently a TA for his IAR 221 (History & Theory of Interior Design 2).  Within both these classes I have witnessed how engaging he is with his material.  He helps Interior Architecture students learn in a different way but he also teaches non-majors to understand the same thing.  Patrick encourages everyone to think for themselves about design by ‘laying out the facts’ and looking outside of the lecture/class.  We are able to relate or understand his lectures through real examples on campus, the city of Greensboro, and other current examples throughout the world.” – Linda Melendez

“I was interested in IAR 221 History /Theory of Design with professor Patrick because it matches my major. Even though I have English classes, I have attended his class more than five times because I have never enjoyed a history class as much as his class.  As an international student, I was able to understand his lecture more than what I expected; he has a unique way of teaching.  He doesn’t just focus on the building itself, but he makes me think about human behavior, environment, and how cultural differences influence design today and reflect the reality. Attending his class has been the most valuable experience for me. I appreciate the oppotunity that professor Patrick gave me to attend his class.” –Norah Alkhunaini

“Patrick’s teaching style helps me realize my own potential; that I am capable of more than I think I am. He helps students pull out their own answers and push themselves further than they would go otherwise all while making it all seem so simple and straightforward. I’m so thankful to have his aid in my graduate work.” – Kat Sykes

“I think Patrick is an amazing teacher! Even though I’m not an IARC major, I still enjoy his class. He knows how to make education enjoyable. He is always cracking up and having fun with his students, and he is very knowledgeable, he knows everything there is to know about architecture and design. I have really enjoyed having Patrick as a teacher.” – Hannah Mabry

“Patrick is the most dynamic, interesting, fun, knowledgeable, and demanding professor I have ever had, and this is my second degree!” – Jack Kennedy
We congratulate Patrick for his receiving the 2011 University of North Carolina Board of Governors Excellence in Teaching Award!

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