We are committed to delivering daily on HPU’s promise to our students: At High Point University, every student receives an extraordinary education in an inspiring environment with caring people. To celebrate the caring people of HPU, we are regularly highlighting staff and faculty members.
Janis Dougherty is an instructor of graphic design and has been a member of the HPU family for 10 years.
I teach courses in design, including the History of Graphic Design and Typography, and Digital Art and Design. Our discipline requires a significant amount of face-to-face time with our students which also naturally leads to collaboration on projects. Because of this, my classroom often feels like a professional design studio.
My students and I spend a lot of time together in the classroom, often collaborating on solutions and ideas. That may be the best part of my job –sharing ideas with brilliant young designers. My hope is that they feel my genuine interest in their success and are energized by my own enthusiasm for the subject.
I help students develop life skills by challenging them to draw on their strengths and creatively problem-solve. I work to impart the values key to a rewarding professional life: a strong work ethic, compassion, empathy and a sincere belief in themselves that they are capable of handling any challenges that may come their way.
One way I produced real-world outcomes for students was through a project with the Oncology Department at Brenner’s Children’s Hospital. Students designed both interactive posters and greeting cards for the patients and staff in the department. The idea was to provide activities for patients on an as-needed basis. The posters had puzzles or games, designed by our students. The greeting cards were for the kids and staff to hand out to whomever they wanted, whether it was another staff member they cared about, parents, siblings, friends, etc. The project is called Design for Hope and is a variation of a larger outreach program designed by the AIGA, an international organization of designers. This project is also inspired by my nephew, Nico Acampora, who battled cancer and who was a young artist himself.
I am looking forward to seeing the great work our students will make.
HPU is a unique school because there’s a culture of a can-do attitude. Here, we consistently remind students that they are heard and their opinions are valued.
Everything I teach and do generates creativity and productivity. That’s what graphic design is at its core – making creative solutions to problems, from package design and whole branding systems to visual storytelling through design.
“Beautiful things can happen when you act intuitively and instinctively in a moment of anxiety and do something radical.” – Wangechi Mutu
What is your favorite place on campus?
Anyone who knows me, knows it’s the Café in Slane. I also enjoy losing myself in the Conservatory and have plans to spend more time there with my sketchbook.
My favorite part of HPU is my talented, dedicated and passionate colleagues whom I continue to learn from every single day. The food on campus is also pretty terrific.