Monica has an MA in Fashion & Textile Studies: History, Theory, Museum Practice from FIT. Monica’s focus was curatorial, with an emphasis on twentieth century fashion designers. Her current research interests surround American fashions from 1935-1965, artistic collaboration with fashion designers, and current technological innovations that impact the fashion system.
She has taught several courses in fashion design, focusing on history of costume and the creative process. In the past three years, she has been an adjunct faculty member at The Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising (FIDM), Centenary College, Wode-Tobe Coburn, and Berkeley College.
In addition, she has presented her research at international conferences, including:
Antonio Canovas del Castillo. Research exhibition to be presented at Costume Society of America national symposium, May 2012.
The Abnormal Color Experience: What We Can Learn From Synesthetes & The Formerly Blind. Presentation and workshop led at Kaleidoscope: New Perspetives on the Humanities Conference, University of Warwick, May 2011.
A Little Bit of the Golden State in the Big Apple: The California Shop 1938-1941. Presentation at the World of California Conference, Cal State Long Beach, May 2011.
Statement of Teaching Philosophy
My teaching philosophy reflects my interests in collaborative design. Instead of the “full frontal teaching” method of large lectures and autocratic seminars, I prefer student-centered teaching that encourages learning by both students and teachers. I favor classroom dynamics that permit dialogue and foster a degree of student input into the development of a design philosophy. I like students to think about the class as a community. This means that in my studios, I have students spend a fair amount of time in smaller groups and participate in critiques. We examine the process as well as the product. This encourages collaboration and develops a conscious awareness of individual design processes.
Creating an intimate, supportive environment is critical as the facilitator of creative education. Regular and constructive feedback is central to my classroom, and this is achieved through developing rapport and supportive structures in the curriculum and rubrics. Rapport also allows me to understand the students’ existing knowledge, areas of interest, and what they find challenging. Once this information is established, I work with students to identify their strengths, develop their design philosophy, and challenge them to further develop their self-awareness through the design process. Education is collaborative. Students learn not only from the instructor, but also from their peers. Participation in discussions and critiques allows for a broader perspective and analysis of design, develops strong verbal communication, and builds connections. My classes and studios are focused on peer review, critical thinking, and effective communication.