FULL TIME FACULTY
I began teaching at Gateway Technical College in 1992 as a part-time instructor while working as a senior staff designer at Golden Books Family Entertainment. I had a diverse work background prior that included: commercial press prep/design/illustration, freelance graphic design and illustration, and a stint as an AAD at an Agency.
I eventually joined Gateway’s full-time faculty in 1996 to carry on the family business… of teaching. I come from a teaching family, and I am actually the third generation to do so. My father was a teacher in the computer and electronics field, and my grandfather was a respected teacher and headmaster in another country. The “family business” has carried on into a new generation: my sister teaches middle school in the Milwaukee area, and my cousin is a senior professor at MSOE. I’m proud of all of them.
On top of that, there is the business of my extended family: the advertising and marketing business. I have a brother-in-law that is a partner at a major advertising agency, another brother-in-law who runs his own agency, and a sister-in-law who runs a social media positioning and promotions firm in the Milwaukee Metro Market. My cousin is a very capable internet-video developer and web designer in the Chicago Metro Market. I’m proud of all of them too.
I feel that the artistic elements that make up graphic communications are absolutely essential. I also feel that a strong understanding of marketing, branding and basic communication need to be present in student graphic solutions. One of the greatest things we help provide our students with is the ability to not only generate computer files, but “responsible” computer files that are well-organized, structured and complete.
We also encourage the exploration of how you are communicating, and that goes well beyond the copy sheet. Being good stewards of communication goals is essential to success.
I now have over 13 years of teaching experience at Gateway Technical College. I’ve also been employed in various design positions at a corporation, a design firm and a print company. I ran my own firm and serviced local, national and international clients with several employees prior to working at GTC. What I bring to the table in the classroom is a unique skill set that embodies not only a true understanding of the agency and corporate environments, marketing and public relations essentials, but also a professional work style founded by scholarly pursuit and real-world application. The world of design is invigorating and challenging. To be able to get to the heart of a solution is rewarding. Each class, each semester, each year at GTC I look forward to interacting and growing with the students I meet.
The visual overload of the last decade is being replaced by simple, seamless design with a clean approach. Simplicity forces you to have a sound design rationale for everything you add, and to take away — anything that can’t survive hard scrutiny. To succeed, design decisions in all materials should be driven by deliberate use of established objectives as well as graphic design principles and elements.
The strongest brands tend to be the ones with the most consistent and clearest messages. Brands are also the values, beliefs, and service experiences that underpin them. Branding success is no longer predominantly measured by how many consumers recognize or are aware of brands and their logos or slogans, but by how strongly consumers feel connected to brands. So… brands are largely perceptions and experiences. We must keep in mind the intrinsic importance of the consumers’ experience while we promote the products, values, beliefs and services of the company.
One of my favorite quotations is by Charles Mingus: “Anyone can make the simple complicated. Creativity is making the complicated simple.”
My background is a mixture of corporate and academic experiences. In the corporate area, I have experience as a graphic designer, corporate trainer, consultant and marketing director. In the academic area, I have taught at Southwest State University, Alverno College, Carroll College, and University of Wisconsin-Whitewater before coming to Gateway in 2000.
I teach in the graphics, marketing and communications departments. I am also the Online Faculty Coordinator and Faculty Innovation Grant Coordinator for the college. I have been teaching online for seven years and recently completed my Teaching in the Virtual Classroom certification through Fielding Graduate University. In 2009, I received a Teaching Excellence Award from the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD).
One of my favorite books on teaching is the Last Lecture by Randy Pausch. Here are a couple quotes from his book and how they apply to my teaching:
“Brick walls are there for a reason. It give us the opportunity to show how badly you want something.”
If students understand that challenges in life and in the classroom are sometimes lessons in endurance, it can help them not to give up till they get over the wall.
“Give yourself permission to dream.”
Many students have never thought about their dreams. What better place to discover your dreams than in the classroom? The classroom gives students the tools they need to go out on their own and find the answers to their questions and achieve their dreams.
I have had the privilege to teach at Gateway Technical College for 12 years now. My experience stems from print and web facets of the design field. I have worked as a designer for a catalog company, silkscreen, and publishing company prior to teaching at GTC.
I encourage our graphic design students to embrace the entire gamut of visual communication. Recognize that design is embedded in culture that reaches everyone, from the consumer to commerce and eventually impacts society. Students need to practice conceptual problem solving, critical thinking, as well as formal design principles with marketing strategies. Future design students will need not only focus on utilizing design skills and obtaining knowledge of typography, illustration, computer technology, photography, printing, multimedia and web, but they need to ask the tough questions, solve problems, and take risks to become creative critical thinkers in the workplace. These students will be prepared to meet the rigorous challenges within the field of graphic communications.
Research, Discover, Practice, Create
I embrace a holistic approach to teaching with a caring and nurturing teaching style. I believe in an open, creative learning environment that challenges students to rise above expectations of any given project with critical thinking and design skills working in tangent. Everyone has something valid to share and demonstrate. In order for synergy to occur in the classroom, students must build relationships and trust one another. When students feel the trust and caring we can create a positive, collaborative, energetic, synergistic, spontaneous, inspirational, land of discovery that has no limits.
I have taught at Gateway for almost 20 years, and teaching is definitely my passion. I came to teaching like many do, in a roundabout pathway! While in college, I majored in both Art and Biology. I have always had a passion for both subjects, and for I time I thought I would be a medical or scientific illustrator.
My work experience before Gateway is varied; I spend a few years in a Biology capacity, but finally settled on a career in the design field at a communications company here in Racine. I was lucky enough to learn design on the first Mac Computers using PageMaker and Illustrator 88’. My jobs main focus at that point was complex multipage documents, and print production.
As a Gateway faculty member, I have been involved in many things. I have been advisor for many student clubs, including: student government, the Gateway Gazette student newspaper, The Graphics Club, and most recently “Captured by the Light”, a digital photography club.
I am currently involved in Entrepreneurship, and am serving as the co-chair for the Professional Development committee. I also teach in Gateway’s Biz Squad program, which allows students to complete real life projects for non-profits, and new business start-ups.
While employed at Gateway, I finished my masters in education, focusing on distance and alternative delivery. I was one of the first at Gateway to teach courses online, and strongly believe in its continuation as an alternative for students.
Allow students to take a leadership role! Running a classroom does not have to be a dictatorship, and most students when given the opportunity, will take charge and learn much more from a project when they are allowed to lead.
Creativity can be taught! We have to teach students how to think differently, and that means being given permission to fail on occasion.
An “A” student is wonderful! But all students deserve our time and attention.
I started teaching at Gateway in 1995. I developed the Screen Printing Diploma at Gateway Technical College and also taught classes for the Desktop Publishing Certificate. In 1996, I began teaching full-time in the graphics program.
My graphic arts experience began at a Screen Printing business in the mid seventies, I worked in both product production and the art department. I attended both MATC and Carthage College. I have freelanced graphic design for 30 years.
As a Gateway faculty, I have the opportunity to teach in the Biz Squad program. This program allows multi-disciplined students to work as a consulting team for the community. Students work on real life projects. Also I am involved in the International Studies program at Gateway. Another instructor and myself took a group of graphic students to Paris March of 2012, and we are currently planning a trip to Berlin and Paris March of 2014.
I aim to bring an open mind, a positive attitude, and high expectations to the classroom each day. Active, hands-on, concrete experience is the most powerful and natural form of learning.
Campus / Program Dean
Ray Koukari, Jr is the Dean of Academic Affairs for the Racine Campus and the Dean of Business, IT and the Service departments (BITS).
Ray started his career at Gateway as an adjunct faculty member teaching IT courses. He became a full-time faculty member in August 2004, teaching IT on the Racine campus.
In January 2008 his accepted a position as Associate Dean of BITS. In July 2009, he was promoted to his present position.
Prior to joining Gateway, Ray was the chair of the IT programs for UOP in Wisconsin as well as a faculty member teaching strategic planning at the graduate level for six years.
He spent 25 years in the IT field working his way up from a computer keypunch, computer operator, network administrator, programmer, manager, director and CIO.
Ray is a veteran who served in the United States Marine Corps for 6 years obtaining the rank of staff sergeant. Ray holds a MBA degree in Financial Controls from Regent University which he earned in 1999.
Education has always been a major part of Manoj’s career and life. He is also adjunct faculty at Carthage College in the Business Department in various program classes: Marketing, Human Resources, and Introduction to Business Technology.
Prior to joining Gateway, Manoj worked for industry leaders such as Chrysler Corporation, Case New Holland, and Citation Corporation. With over 15 years of progressive business leadership experience, education administration enables him to work with great education faculty leaders who are dedicated to student success.
Manoj has a Bachelor of Science in Engineering from Texas A&M University, an M.B.A. from Marquette University and is a doctoral (PhD) candidate at Case Western Reserve University.
In his spare time, Manoj enjoys traveling, reading, sports, and spending time with his family.