Hepworth reflects on finishing first semester

Hepworth reflects on finishing first semester

Katherine Hepworth is The Reynolds School’s new Assistant Professor of Visual Communication. She relocated to Nevada from Australia over the summer and has adjusted to life in Reno with her Schipperke pup, Susan.  She recently spent time reflecting on completing her first semester with the School, experiencing the first snowfall of the season, enjoying the outdoors and conceptualizing a flipped course model for J-300.

Katherine's pup Susan in the snow for the very first time!

Katherine’s pup Susan in the snow for the very first time!

“Moving to Nevada from Australia was quite the adventure,” Hepworth said. “I’ve really enjoyed the outdoor activities Reno has to offer and I’ve learned that Susan loves the snow!”

When asked how her first semester teaching went Hepworth said it was quite successful.

“This semester was very fulfilling,” Hepworth said. “It’s amazing to have a proper teaching gig and I feel like I am fitting in very well. Teaching here has demonstrated the importance of finding fun and unusual new ways of interacting with students and using creative teaching methods that emphasize experimental learning.”

Hepworth said her students have taught her a great deal this semester.

“My students have a big thirst for visual communication,” she said. “I am looking forward to expanding our offerings in this track of study going forward.”

As she looks forward, Hepworth is excited to shake up the teaching model and plans to add service-learning component and a video lecture series to the J-300 class.

“Next semester the J-300 class will have a service-learning component,” she said. “Students will have the option to volunteer at a local charity for two hours each week. All of the time spent at the charity will culminate at the end of the semester as students work to develop a specific promotional item for the charity of their choice. It’s a win-win for everyone!”

Katherine gets close to "Prototype Penny." One of the "students" featured in her flipped course video series.

Katherine gets close to “Prototype Penny.” One of the “students” featured in her flipped course video series.

Hepworth will also launch The Reynolds School’s first flipped course class design. The flipped course structure will be introduced over the next three semesters. It will feature video instruction online with class time devoted to real-time project creation and hands-on small group instruction.

“This new structure, which will incorporate video, recognizes our students’ sophisticated understanding of technology, allowing allow them to engage with the content before class and be challenged in a fun and exciting way when we meet in person,” Hepworth said.  “I think this course structure will be more suitable for our students and how they learn.”

Hepworth joined The Reynolds School in the fall of 2013. She earned her doctorate degree from Swinburne University of Technology in Australia. Her research focuses on the influence of design on political power.

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