• Travis Hicks
  • Travis Hicks
  • IAR
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  • Assistant Professor
  • tlhicks@uncg.edu
  • 102 Gatewood
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  • At UNCG Since: 2010
  • Community Engagement
    Fellow
  • Travis Hicks
  • Community Engagement
    Fellow
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  • Faculty Groups: Community Engagement  
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  • Why Teaching?
  • I left a successful career in Architecture and Interior Design to teach full-time at UNCG. Professional practice has its rewards, such as walking through a building that I designed or helped design, but I find teaching to be rewarding in different ways. I learn more effectively when I'm teaching, and I think that I can offer an experienced perspective on what I've learned over the years to students through teaching. In addition, teaching gives me the privilege of connecting students with people on and off campus, and these connections have the potential to impact others through the power of design and community engagement. While I try to emulate some techniques from the best teachers I ever had, I still try to bring something new and different to the classroom. Most importantly, I care about students and enjoy finding ways to connect my interests and expertise with theirs.
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  • Why Interior Architecture?
  • At the age of 13 I wanted to become an architect, even though I had never met an architect up to that point in my life. With the support of my drafting teacher and builder, Fred Stokes, I designed and drew the plans for my parents' house (built by Stokes that summer) as a sophomore in high school. Living in Paris while studying architecture during my senior year at Georgia Tech changed my life, but it also reinforced my passion for architecture. Following graduate school at Princeton and going to work for my thesis advisor Michael Graves, I was exposed to a more holistic method of practicing architecture and design. This method blurred boundaries between planning, architecture, interior design, furniture design, and product design, in ways for which my architectural education did not prepare me. While I carried this working method with me throughout my professional career, I've found only a few academic programs that similarly blur these boundaries. The Interior Architecture department at UNCG is one such program, and it's what drew me here in the first place.
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  • Why a Teaching Innovations Fellowship?
  • The Teaching Innovations Fellowship in Community Engagement is a platform for me to connect my research, teaching, and service in community-engaged design with others on campus. I practiced architecture and interior design in a landscape of interdisciplinarity, but I've found academia in general to lack interdisciplinary collaboration. This specific Teaching Innovations Fellowship promises to connect my work with faculty from other disciplines, and I believe that our collective work will be more exciting, productive, and meaningful because of the crossing of disciplinary boundaries. Furthermore, I have benefitted from Teaching Innovations as a new faculty member and look forward to giving back to the Teaching Innovations Office and to supporting other faculty at UNCG.
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  • What one thing you would change about UNCG?
  • Coming from a career outside of academia, I am surprised by the limited number of projects on campus that cross disciplinary boundaries. While there are structural, philosophical, pedagogical, and political challenges to collaborating across disciplines, I would encourage faculty to reach across these boundaries and find ways to collaborate with others. I believe that the answers to the big questions that impact our lives in Greensboro and the Piedmont-Triad region can't be discovered through narrowly-focused disciplinary scholarship, and I would suggest that more emphasis be placed on interdisciplinary collaboration.
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  • What’s Next?
  • On January 1, 2014, I became Director of UNCG's Center for Community-Engaged Design (formerly Center for Innovation in Interior Architecture). The CC-ED has recently moved into a space just off campus at 842-B Lee Street. I've had the privilege of working with 11 talented undergraduate students in this space over the summer, and we have met with a number of community members who represent a variety of issues in and around Greensboro. It is very clear to me that there is a need in this community for such a space for designers, students, faculty, and community partners to meet and hammer out projects that can have a significant impact on the region's future through the design of the built environment. Developing this research center into a sustainable community design center, complete with long-term support and staffing, is what's next for me.
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