Molding Students for Success

Nov 07, 2017 by

“Working with art students to create something, and helping them see within themselves something they didn’t know they had, hooked me on the teaching profession.”
David Funk

While David Funk is a potter by avocation, today he is helping mold students to reach their full potential.

As administrator of TJC’s Presidential Honors Program, Funk coordinates the activities of 300 freshmen and sophomores who are part of a program for high-achieving students. (See related story, Page 4.)

“This is a different learning environment for students who are goal-oriented and purpose-driven,” he says. “Our faculty tasks the students academically in a different, challenging way.”

Funk grew up in Southern Illinois, the son and grandson of farmers. But he was drawn to the arts. He received his associate’s degree in graphics, a bachelor’s degree in studio art
from Southern Illinois University,
and a master’s in fine arts from Utah
State University.

“I never thought about being a teacher until I became a teaching assistant for a class while a graduate student,” he says. “Working with art students to create something, and helping them see within themselves something they didn’t know they had, hooked me on the teaching profession.”

Funk began teaching art at TJC after moving to Tyler in 2009. Two years ago, he moved out of his full-time teaching role to coordinate the TJC Presidential Honors Program.

“I agreed to take the job only if I could keep teaching,” says Funk, who continues teaching pottery as an adjunct professor.

“Art will always be my compass, even as today I’m learning more about programmatic goals, assessment and administrative activities as I direct the Presidential Honors Program. I still like to play in the mud and build things.”

Whether he’s teaching classes on clay or ceramics or working with honors students, Funk enjoys connecting
with people.

“Working with our honors students is the best part of this job. They are amazing,” he said. “I tell them the best thing I can do for them is get out of the way.”


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On Campus, Summer 2017

About the author

Tracy Torma is a staff writer for The Apache.