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The dance team is the fourth varsity program added at Merrimack College, which now sponsors 28 intercollegiate programs.
Professor Maria Galante began teaching at Merrimack in 2019 and brings with her a wealth of knowledge. She received her Masters in Education from Salem State University and holds a Graduate Certificate from Rochester Institute of Technology in UX Design. She also has a Bachelor’s Degree from Suffolk University for Graphic Design and a certificate in Multimedia from University of Massachusetts; and if that wasn’t enough, Professor Galante has her Vocational Professional Teaching License from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.
She has been teaching for over ten years and sees herself as having been a designer her whole life. Professor Galante is still working as a freelance designer and enjoys working with new clients. She is also very interested in typography, explaining, “typography is my passion, but I’m not quite sure where I want to go with it yet.”
Professor Galante’s interest in teaching was influenced by her family, but she was most deeply impacted by her time working with the Boys and Girls Club. She recalls teaching arts and crafts and seeing the kids accomplish and create something they were proud of. They were excited to show their parents, and Professor Galante remembers thinking “Wow. Nothing I can create could ever compare to the joy I just witnessed, and I wanted to keep seeing that, I want to see my students accomplish things and be proud of themselves.”
Thinking about both the positive and negative experiences she has had with clients, Galante tries to replicate real-life situations for her students. “This way they can have a better idea of what it would be like to have their own business, or if they go into an in-house creative environment, they know what to expect and know that they will be challenged,” she notes.
Professor Galante chooses to integrate project-based learning into her courses. She would rather have students show what they know than tell her in writing. Professor Galante also believes group work is essential to helping students think things through and develop problem-solving skills they can carry into the professional world.
With the shift to online learning, due to the pandemic, Professor Galante hasn’t changed her teaching style much, but misses the “extra things that happen in the classroom, like peer to peer learning and forming a deeper personal connection with students.” Professor Galante admits that finding ways to make that happen in a Zoom breakout room can be difficult and that “this new totally digital environment, is still a challenge.”
One thing Professor Galante wants students to know is to “not be too critical of yourself. As designers, she says, you can be your own worst enemy. We are always assessing and revising and creating and recreating. It can be easy to become hypercritical of what you are doing and get stuck in a rut.
Professor Galante says her favorite part of teaching is seeing students “get it,” and she loves “the joy of opening up students’ homework or in-class assignments and seeing how fabulous or entertaining they can be.”
The Visual and Performing Arts department is thrilled to have Maria Galante as part of our wonderful faculty.