Susan Shields

Art History Adjunct


  • Education
  • MFA Academy of Art: University San Francisco CA


I firmly believe that the most important ingredient in teaching is a genuine sense of involvement; student interest is an absolute prerequisite. Motivation and emotion share the same Latin root: movere (to move). Thus, it all starts with what \"moves\" us. I am motivated to inspire a love of learning in my students.

I was first introduced to the magic of art and art history at the age of ten, as my family toured Europe via campgrounds and museums. This experience set the stage for my subsequent career as an artist and arts educator. An educator himself, my father placed me in the German public school system for the fourth grade during this year-long sabbatical, despite my complete lack of knowledge of the German language. This formative experience taught me to be fearless, and to observe and learn from a “different way of doing things.” I often draw upon this feeling of being completely immersed in a novel culture, while teaching first-generation college students at Dougherty Family College. I invite scholars to share cultural and artistic traditions of their personal heritage, as my students and I address the long-overdue decolonization of art history. My experience teaching culturally diverse students has greatly informed and enriched my pedagogy.

As an educator I am interested in building literacy, confidence, and autonomous creative problem-solving skills in my students, while also imbuing a genuine appreciation for the arts and humanities. My roles as educator and artist merge, as I create and engage in Social Practice Art interactions which examine diversity and equity in academia. First-generation college students are a formidable demographic; they help move us all towards a more just and inclusive society.