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.”