Get to Know Your Professors: Q & A with Mark Moak (Professor of Art)

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photo courtesy of Liana Kasperovich

photo courtesy of Liana Kasperovich

By: Kasha Caprata –

Name: Mark Stephen Moak

Originated From: I was born in the South, New Orleans to be exact, but I spent most of my youth in Georgia.

Undergraduate/Masters/PhD Programs: For my undergraduate studies, I first attended Valdosta State University (VSU) where I hoped to further my passion of art and achieve my Bachelor of Fine Arts.I chose VSU because it was close to home, but not too close. During my time at VSU, my advisor recommended that I transfer to the University of Georgia (UGA) because the art department there had much more to offer. VSU was a great school, but it offered more of a general art degree, while at UGA, an art student could specialize in one of 12 areas of art. Once I transferred to UGA, I chose to specialize in painting and drawing. On the suggestion of a classmate in my art history class, I took a jewelry and metalworking class and promptly shifted my emphasis. I finished at UGA with a Bachelor of Fine Arts and was offered a teaching assistantship to stay at UGA and pursue my Masters of Fine Arts.

Inspiration For Becoming a Professor: Thanks to my teaching assistantship at UGA, I discovered that I loved to teach. The Masters of Fine Arts, which is a terminal degree, gave me the academic credentials to teach in any college or university.

The Definition of Education: Professors should provide students with the opportunity and possibility to learn, and students should come willing and ready to learn. The hope is to create a spark of curiosity in a student.

Draw to Rocky Mountain College: My first teaching job was in jewelry, metalworking, and blacksmithing in Arizona, but my family and I moved back to Georgia. In Georgia, I taught all of the art courses at a college roughly the size of Rocky Mountain College, which gave me a good foundation for the broad range of courses that Rocky requires. While in Georgia, my wife, Rhett, and I realized how much we missed the West. When I saw the Rocky Mountain College art announcement in the Chronicle of Higher Education, I applied for the position, came out West for the interview, and got the job-almost 28 years ago!

The Best Things About Being a Professor: The best thing about being a professor is continuing to learn with my students everyday. The worst thing about being a professor is grading. The perfect world would be if I could teach to students with no testing and grading involved, but that is not how the system works.

Advice For New Students: Learn when to work and when to play. Be sure to do both!

This Year’s Agenda: I look forward to my sabbatical; wait that’s next year! The biggest event for this school that I looked forward to was the student art show that opened on March 12 in the exhibit room in Tech Hall. If you get a chance, swing by and look at all of the hard work put in by Rocky students.

Goals: Professionally, I would like to provide students with the opportunity to learn to the best of my abilities with the best of my abilities with the resources that I can muster. I strive to always be enthusiastic so that a spark might ignite a student’s curiosity.



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