Associate Professor of Art Thomas Hubert, who has taught at Mercyhurst for 31 years, promotes a liberal arts education.
“I’m a big proponent of no minors,” Hubert said. He encourages students to take a wide variety of classes rather than adopt a minor, which he thinks cuts down on the liberal arts quality of a college education.
“Employers are not as interested in minors as they are in activities and achievements,” Hubert said.
Hubert completed his undergraduate studies at Mercyhurst and pursued his master of fine arts degree at the Rochester Institute of Technology.
Between college and graduate school, Hubert worked at a graphic design firm for a year. After graduating, Hubert then spent 12 years making pottery for a living while teaching part time at Mercyhurst.
He received tenure in 1999, which he said, “is an important affirmation that a teacher has made it.” He regularly teaches classes on ceramics, sculpture, and 3D design.
The best part of teaching, according to Hubert, is the students who bring new ideas and an “energy of creativity” to the classroom.
To engage students in the classroom, Hubert seldom lectures or uses PowerPoints. Instead, he relies on real or digital images, conversations with the students and field trips to art shows.
Hubert asks his students to produce and critique one another in order to develop a critical eye. They also give many demonstrations to establish their “expertise to present in the classroom.”
Hubert asserts that an art major is as marketable as other majors. Art therapy students, for example, can work in hospitals, prisons and schools.
“Just like in any major, for a student willing to work,” Hubert said, “there are many jobs available for an art major.”
In the college community, the art department serves a unique role by providing the visual aspect of creativity such as hallway displays. “Art provides an atmosphere of creativity and an air of celebration,” Hubert said.
In particular, the Cummings Gallery displays two to three student art shows every year, which Hubert encourages all students to attend.
Hubert participates in the Empty Bowls program, which is sponsored by the art education and social work departments. Last year, the event raised approximately $6,000 for the Second Harvest Food Bank.
In his spare time, Hubert works in his studio every day and even prefers his studio over traveling. He finds inspiration in music and said, “Music’s always playing in my studio.”