CCAD’s 2019 Teaching Excellence Awards recognize exemplary faculty

Since 2007, Columbus College of Art & Design has honored its outstanding full-time faculty members with the Teaching Excellence Award. This year, CCAD has expanded the award to recognize the efforts of adjunct faculty as well.

The 2019 Teaching Excellence Award winners were honored at a reception on Thursday, April 11. Nominations came from alumni, current CCAD students, faculty, and staff and recognized individuals for their strength in discipline knowledge, instructional effectiveness, and student focus.

Adjunct Faculty Mary Skrenta, who is also CCAD’s Jewelry Studio Coordinator, won the first-ever Teaching Excellence Award for adjunct faculty. Mary also serves as a mentor and thesis advisor to MFA students. Photography Professor Hiroshi Hayakawa won the Teaching Excellence Award for full-time faculty.

“We had an incredibly competitive field of nominees this year,” Provost Dona Lantz said. “Both Mary and Hiroshi are incredible instructors who are well deserving of this recognition.”

mary skrenta

Mary Skrenta

Mary Skrenta (Master of Fine Arts, 2016) began at CCAD in 2014 and teaches jewelry and small-scale metals. Her life’s journey has included military service, travel in the U.S. and abroad, and jobs ranging from ticket scalper to lava rock-carver. She graduated with honors (and dual degrees) from Capital University in 1999 and later earned her master’s degree at CCAD. Her work has been exhibited across the U.S. Skrenta is a 2017 recipient of the Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award.

One student nominator said Skrenta “she has truly been an inspiration in my life and my work. She is understanding, giving, creative and non-judgmental. She’s helped me develop my conceptual thought process tremendously and has helped me shift my thinking from a marketing perspective to an authentic and bold perspective.”

At the award ceremony, Skrenta said she was “filled with joy” thanks to the recognition. “I’m overwhelmed. I’m stupefied. And I’m so grateful,” she said.

“Art makes the world a better place. … This is why I do what I do,” she said.

Teaching, said Skrenta, is her calling and vocation and she is proud to support students on their creative paths. "I feel that I’m a guide on a journey—a very important journey,” she said.

hiroshi hayakawa

Hiroshi Hayakawa

Hiroshi Hayakawa (Photography, 1995) started teaching at CCAD in 1998. He teaches Intro to Photo, Photo I, Photo II, Material Studies, and SOSA Studio Art & Entrepreneurship, and he mentors graduate students. In addition to his Photography degree from CCAD, Hayakawa earned a BA in French Literature at Keio University in Tokyo before attending CCAD, where he graduated with a Photography degree. He went on to earn an MFA in Photography from Cranbrook Academy of Art. Hayakawa works in photography, drawing, painting, sculpture, and paper craft. He has published four paper craft books: Kirigami Menagerie, Paper Pups, Paper Birds, and Paper Monsters and Curious Creatures through Lark Crafts. Hayakawa is a recipient of Ohio Arts Council Individual Artist Fellowship.

One of his student nominators said Hayakawa “has helped me think out of the box and pay attention to perspective with my work. He understands my style and admiration for the vintage aesthetic, and has helped me produce work that I actually like and can be proud of.”

Hayakawa said he was honored by the recognition.

“I really appreciate having this chance to work with students—not only to teach them, but to constantly be impressed by their work and ideas,” he said.

Griffith Fund winners & other faculty news

In addition to the Teaching Excellence Awards, Lantz announced the winners of this year’s Griffith Faculty Excellence Fund “Big Project”, which was established in 2013 in honor of CCAD’s late former president Denny Griffith. The fund is meant to support full-time faculty who are doing innovative research and challenging creative projects. This year’s awards went to:

The reception also included the following announcements: