Professor Doug Goldsmith Earns Prestigious Distinguished Teaching Award

Professor Doug Goldsmith is a recipient of one of Kent State's highest honors, the Distinguished Teaching Award (DTA), for the 2020-21 academic year.

Dating back more than 50 years and sponsored by the Kent State Alumni Association, the DTA is presented annually to three full-time faculty members who demonstrate extraordinary teaching in the classroom and a devotion to touching the lives of students. 

Professor Goldsmith teaches color theory and a variety of illustration courses for the School of Visual Communication Design. A graduate of the Cleveland Institute of Art with a BFA and Carnegie Mellon University with an MFA, he has been a professional illustrator and fine artist since 1981, joining Kent State as an instructor in 1988. Goldsmith has been a finalist for this award once previously and also won the Outstanding Teaching Award in 1996.

"He has the admiration of all faculty and staff at the School of Visual Communication Design."

“In the classroom, I approach every single student with compassion and encouragement, carefully observing ‘Who’ they are and where their strengths lie,” Goldsmith recently said. “It’s a delicate tightrope to walk trying to liberate students from their fears and temporary struggles with design principles. As long as they have the passion and drive... I can guide them to the path of professional confidence and skill.”

The director of VCD, Daniel Alenquer, praises his approach to the classroom: "Professor Goldsmith's teaching philosophy proves that a positive, mindful approach to teaching creates a lasting impact on our students. He has the admiration of all faculty and staff at the School of Visual Communication Design."

"You always know what to say to get your students moving in the right direction."

Junior Design major, Emma Greathouse took Goldsmith's illustration class, and despite illustration not being one of her strengths, she finished the class in a quite different frame of mind from her hesitancy at the start. "You encouraged me to be open to the process," she wrote to him, "and reassured me you would be there to help me.... This class was the absolute best thing I could have done."

Another student wrote to Goldsmith: "I truly feel privileged to have been able to work with you on my book, and I don't believe I would have ever been able to get where I have without you helping me.... I left every one of our meetings feeling on top of the world. You always know what to say to get your students moving in the right direction."

BFA student Morgan Kohl wrote "I wanted to thank you for how wonderful of a teacher you've been. I really enjoyed your class, and it gave me the push to pursue a BFA. Thank you for helping me discover my style and giving me more confidence in my work."

"Doug's real strength is his almost bottomless kindness

Graduates who have gone on to career success haven't forgotten Goldsmith's guidance and inspiration either. Award winning artist and now a teacher himself, Steve Hughes recently wrote back to Goldsmith to say "I can honestly say that I've learned more from you than any other professor, and I appreciate the way you've mentored me in the art of teaching. It's been a second education for me that I've been grateful for every day. My new job is a direct result!"

Cece Bell, who won the 2015 Newberry Honor and the Eisner Award for Best Publication for Kids (ages 8-12) for her book El Deafo sends Goldsmith an autographed copy of her books every time one is published. She writes of him: "Professor Douglas Goldsmith is the bomb. Literally. And he most definitely deserves a Distinguished Teaching Award...Doug was my illustration professor from 1993 to 1995. I am one hundred percent certain that without his instruction, I would not be the successful illustrator that I am today. Doug's classes are difficult yet lively. His instruction is rigorous yet kind. Doug's own artwork proves that he knows what he's teaching. But Doug's real strength is his almost bottomless kindness.... All students feel comfortable approaching him for help, because he gives himself so readily at all times. I can't think of a greater trait for a teacher than that."

Goldsmith is the second professor in the School of Visual Communication Design to have earned the DTA.

POSTED: Tuesday, April 27, 2021 - 12:17pm
UPDATED: Thursday, July 1, 2021 - 1:41pm