What are my unique things?
— T.L.

Professional Development Plan


In a field where new ideas are continuously flowing, the value of a professional development plan is to guide my career goals. The professional development plan is a tool to see how each new opportunity is appropriate for my future growth. Furthermore, my plan helps me to clarify gaps in my skills that hinder advancement of goals. This plan is a snapshot into my current frame of mind (which may change in the future) and how I view my research and teaching in the broader perspectives of the world. 

Never Stop Learning

The entire field of apparel design is a complex problem-solving activity where the range of possible problems and solutions is infinitely differently and ever changing. It is in this multiplicity of solutions that teaching in our field is never stagnant: for both students and teachers. As an educator, it is important to keep up to date with techniques used by peers in our field. To do this, I attend professional development workshops and sit-in on pedagogy seminars. 


ALS 6015 - The Practice of Teaching in Higher Education (SP2014) 

Instructed by David Way, this preparatory course aided in my teaching and professional development as a future instructor. Throughout the course, I was challenged to develop (and find) my professional identity. The course material addressed educational philosophies, learning theories, instructional methods, curriculum design, and assessment.  Applied projects guided our inquiry by developing a course syllabus and assessment rubric. Additionally we articulated our research and teaching philosophy. 


As a graduate teaching assistant (GTA) at Colorado State University, I attended teaching workshops as a means to enhance my understanding of best-practices in teaching. Below are a collection of reflection papers of workshops I attended: 

A mentoring we will go!

An excellent mentorship becomes a friendship, and the exchange allows for both the mentor and mentee to achieve excellence. Mentoring students in a responsible way provides a structure in one-to-one relationships that focuses on the needs of the mentee. My goals for mentoring students include:

  • Encourage individuals to develop to their fullest potential by fostering a caring and supportive relationship
  • Encourage individuals to develop an awareness of the policies and procedures that are relevant to achieving the students professional development and degree goals
  • Encourage individuals to develop their vision for the future
  • Help individuals identify priorities like budgeting time, balancing coursework and extracurricular activities, and finding courses/workshops to achieve their vision
  • Provide encouragement, but also honest and constructive criticism 

In my own career, mentors have helped me survive and thrive!  I aim to pay it forward and become a good mentor therefore, I have modified a list by UC Davis Academic Affairs that outlines what I believe to be qualities of a good mentor:  

  • Accessibility - I aim to be accessible and keep in contact with my mentees. I might do this by dropping by their office or classroom,  sending an email, or extending an invitation for a coffee break or lunch. I strive to make time to read/critique proposals and papers and provide periodic review of progress.
  • Networking - I am to help individuals establish a professional network. 
  • Independence - I aim to maintain individual's intellectual independence, and foster a collaborative relationship with my mentees. 

Mentorship in Action - Faculty Interviews

Subtly sandwiched between two other course projects in The Practice of Teaching in Higher Education, we were assigned the task to conduct a faculty interview. What seemed to be an unassuming assignment turned out to be a transformational experience as I got to peek into the perspectives of two Cornell faculty members on what it takes to be an effective teacher, researcher, and member of the academic community. My interviewees placed a strong emphasis on making conscious decisions on the projects you take on as an effort to maintain your brand image or professional identity. Viewing possible projects through the lens of your brand image can help focus projects to what make you a unique contribution to the academic community. Intrigued? Click the link below to read my faculty interview report in it's entirety.

Teaching-as-Research: Conference presentations 

Below are a collection of conference presentations and proceedings that explore innovative teaching methods in the field of Apparel Design: 

  • Team-Based Learning (TBL): New instructional strategy for apparel product development
  • Smart Clothing, Smart Girls: Teaching Spatial Manipulation through Garment Patterns

Intensive Study Abroad Trips as a Means for Professional and Personal Development

As part of my professional development plan, I have had the opportunity to travel to Guatemala, India, and China to visit factories see first-hand the entire product development process from fiber through garment creation. A blog entry will be available summer 2014. Once the post goes live, I will post a link to read more about these informative experiences. 

Last Updated: 5/14/2014