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Pro­fessor of Art Roxanne Kaufman and her husband, Trent, in 2018. | Facebook

After a five-year hiatus, Roxanne Kaufman has returned to Hillsdale as a pro­fessor of art. In addition to teaching classes, she also manages the Sage Art Gallery.

Dr. Barbara Bushey, chair of the art department, expressed her pleasure about Kaufman’s return to campus in an email.

“I am pleased to be able to hire Pro­fessor Kaufman full-time,” Bushey said. “I find her to be a capable and com­pas­sionate instructor, and a won­derful artist. Her demeanor in the classroom is always poised and pro­fes­sional, and also warm and encour­aging. We are lucky to have her.” 

Kaufman earned a bachelor’s degree in fine arts with a focus on pho­tog­raphy at Spring Arbor Uni­versity and com­pleted her graduate studies at Goddard College in Vermont. 

“I did my undergrad work at Spring Arbor and I com­pleted my graduate studies at Goddard College in Vermont. It was low res­i­dency and I was able to work in other pro­fes­sional fields like pub­lishing and in the pho­tog­raphy studio while I was doing my master’s degree. My undergrad is fine arts with a focus and con­cen­tration in pho­tog­raphy both digital and darkroom pro­ce­dures. And my master’s work was pri­marily alter­native pho­to­graphic processes, art therapy con­cepts, and psy­chology.” 

Kaufman’s master’s work with art therapy has con­tinued post-grad­u­ation. She worked at a res­i­dential treatment facility in Jonesville and studied art therapy con­cepts with youth who had behav­ioral, emo­tional, and physical set­backs. 

“The therapy was suc­cessful, espe­cially for the stu­dents who had trouble artic­u­lating their struggles. They could draw out what they felt or use dif­ferent colors that rep­re­sented their feelings.”

Kaufman has con­tinued her use of art therapy in the classroom. 

“At Trine Uni­versity a lot of my stu­dents couldn’t remember the last time they colored so we would do some art therapy con­cepts with them and everyone was so happy and excited,” she said. “There’s a reason the dot col­oring books have become popular. People miss using their hands and the easiest way to start doing that is art.”

Junior Meghan Gwilt said that Kaufman’s teaching style is espe­cially helpful when learning chal­lenging new con­cepts.

 “She’s very sweet and helpful. Since we’re learning new software she’s doing a lot of step-by-step help with us,” Gwilt said. 

Kaufman pre­vi­ously taught at Spring Arbor, Trine Uni­versity, and Jackson College. Though she is a new full-time pro­fessor, Kaufman’s history with Hillsdale has helped her with the tran­sition. 

“I love being here,” she said. “It was a very easy tran­sition because I knew my co-workers and now I have just enough teaching expe­rience where I don’t feel com­pletely nerve-wracked about what’s going to happen. I’m excited about bringing my own twist but also fol­lowing the paths that have already been laid by pro­fessors here.”

Kaufman appre­ciates the mission of the college and believes that art plays a role in a liberal arts edu­cation. 

“I’ve always been a strong believer in liberal arts. While we may have one main interest or job that we’re meant to do, I think doing that main job well means having a broad per­spective, having as many tools to do it well, uniquely, and per­son­alized. Art can either be some­thing that you utilize in your job directly or it just helps you build an interest or an outlet. Making some­thing and cre­ating some­thing is important no matter who you are.”