Interview with Stoel

November 28, 2014 § Leave a comment

Stoel Burrowes is an Assistant Professor, Academic Professional, and an Internship Coordinator in the IARc program.  He teaches [1st] year everyday in Environmental Design and Drawing Design.  He is someone we can look up to and learn from.

What is your educational background? How did you end up here?

“I went to high school at Atlanta, New Jersey, and then I went to college at Yale University. I had a great time there and I also took off for a semester and worked in New Mexico and earned enough money to travel in Europe for six weeks or more. Then came back and went back to school, so I am often sympathetic to the situation that people might take more than four years to finish their education. I love the idea of studying abroad I didn’t study there, but I traveled there. After college, I took off and actually lived in Vermont for a while and that’s where I met my current wife. We ended up moving into North Carolina and I worked mostly in carpentry, built some houses, did some finer work got into some cabinet kind of work and ended up working in furniture. I worked for almost 20 years making, designing, and selling hard wood furniture in a small company in Chapel Hill. Then I went back to school at that time also, and got a degree at NC State in Product or Industrial Design, so I got my Masters degree there. I wasn’t really thinking at that time I’d necessarily be teaching with it, although that was an interesting possibility rather I thought I would do other kinds of product design, but still I remand a lot in furniture and wood work. Then I, almost by chance or by someone’s recommendation, talked to Tommy here, in 2000 about possibly working here, I didn’t immediately start doing it, but soon thereafter taught a studio and starting teaching other studios and drawing and lighting and so on. Then for two of those years since 2000 I taught in Richmond at VCU, and then came back and taught here again.”

What’s your favorite part about teaching?

“I think I especially love the one on one or one with a small group kind of discussing an issue or problem coming up with a solution together and very often that’s kind of the out of class time or desk critique, I think those are the most exciting times for me”

What do you hope to accomplish?

“Well, I hope to continue teaching and being a positive and enthusiastic interjected influence on young designers, I look forward to making more furniture, and continuing the word work I do and some of the artwork and writing I do.”

What do you do in your free time?

“We love to travel, but we don’t do enough of it, I certainly love reading but I also don’t do enough of it. Since I travel an hour to come here listening to books on audio. I also do wood work and of course there’s a lot house maintenance and some family things.”

What have you learned from teaching?

“I learned to be humble, and the things I hope to bring out of my students they can bring out of me”

What all do you do? What do you do behind the scenes?

“I have a teaching schedule, I direct the internship program that is a class, I do love working at non-class times and talking to students and being part of that, I’m also on the Faculty Senate, I am also responsible for the hallway exhibits. I do go to conferences once or twice a semester and I have done some presentations in the past. I am also a member of, once called the undergraduate curriculum committee.”

How do you decide what the final projects should be?

“It’s a combination of having worked with Tommy, he’s the one who taught me the most about teaching, and also it’s my own inspiration or ideas, usually a few months before class, thinking of what could work in that time frame, but a lot of it is responding to what we have already done and what could be a good set of parameters and a good project for studio, in case this fall it’s having to do with light. Light is a great substance, and it has a way of getting the students to think not so much of the objects but what the object does.”

Contributed by Celeste Holley [1st] Year


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