Introducing Spencer Barnes

Spencer Barnes
Spencer Barnes


















Balancing scholarship and teaching is a difficult challenge for any graduate student, but Spencer Barnes has mastered the art of successfully incorporating both within his studies at NC State. As a second-year doctoral student pursuing his Ed.D. in the Department of Technology Education, Spencer has contributed greatly to the academic world through several publications regarding relevant issues within design education and his success stories within the classroom. His most recent work has been published in the International Journal of the Arts in Society and is entitled The Context and Experience of the Critique: A Qualitative Study, a work concerned with critiquing and providing creative feedback to designers within collegiate design education. As a result of his teaching and publishing opportunities over the past year, North Carolina State University was placed in the Autodesk Customer Reference Book. Autodesk, a major software company that produces software for media, entertainment and engineering industries, provides 1500 copies of this book for marketing and sales teams within their division.

As an adjunct assistant professor in Industrial Design, Barnes teaches both ID 315 “Digital Product Modeling” and ID 415 “Advanced Digital Project Modeling” and takes on the task of helping his students develop the ability to articulate design problems digitally and to become innovative thinkers. In a recent interview with Alias Design, Spencer states that he “give(s) inspiration to his students by “encouraging them, giving them constructing feedback, and challenging them to create great work.” By using timely and creative projects, such as creating poseable action figures based on the movie Transformers, the students’ responses to the project has been overwhelmingly positive and their resulting work extraordinary. Spencer remarks that “The students are excited and have enjoyed completing the project…as soon as I assigned the project they began ideating and fleshing out concepts…they have taken pride in their ideas and have seen that the things I’ve taught them throughout this project can apply to other courses within the NC State Industrial Design department.” When asked what his students get out of his program, Spencer says that they “leave his course with a strong sense of design efficacy and abilities to solve problems and drive their design process. Exiting my class they are poised to seek out new design problems and to significantly contribute to the discipline of Industrial Design.”

As a teacher, Spencer Barnes attributes much of his teaching and scholarship success to NC State’s Certificate of Accomplishment in Teaching (CoAT) program. As a 2007 graduate of the program, Spencer says that “the program has tremendously impacted my approach to scholarship and instruction. The teaching techniques that I learned in CoAT workshops have provided me with a greater awareness of student needs and the methods for effective teaching.” Regarding his recently published qualitative study, he affirms that “I have learned a lot through engaging in this endeavor and I feel that I was well prepared to do so because of the training I received from the CoAT program.”

Click here to view archived Graduate School stories.