Professor Spotlight: Jessa Wilcoxen

Rebekah Icenesse, Writer

There’s a new teacher here at Millikin! Please welcome her into the Big Blue family. Coming from Greenville College, Professor Jessa Wilcoxen is new to the Millikin campus, but she is not new to the Digital Media department. Wilcoxen has previously worked as an Associate professor of Digital Media at Greenville for six years and has taught Graphic Design for one year at Arkansas State University. She completed her graduate work at the University of Memphis. She has been teaching full time for eight years and she has come to Millikin to expand her lessons on Digital Media and Art Technology.

She attended Bradley University to get her undergraduate degree in Graphic Design and minored in Marketing in Business Management. She decided to get two minors in business because of the job market and the available opportunities. “I knew [that] the more I knew about technological and creative thinking and business strategy, I would be more hireable because of my background.” It was a smart decision that she made because she was able to find a job in the workplace when the stock market had problems and other people struggled to maintain their jobs.

Wilcoxen started to teach here at Millikin because she wanted to be apart of the new Arts Technology major program. “I love building things. [I] knew it would be exciting to see how it would grow.” She appeared to be the perfect candidate for the job as she already had a lot of experience in the digital media world. One of her favorite things to do in her job is to collaborate and becoming a professor here was a perfect opportunity to do just that. All of the classes she teaches, involve some kind of collaboration on projects. Meetings and Midway Critiques are some of the ways that she is able to collaborate with her students, which is one of her favorite parts of teaching.

She likes the brainstorming aspect of her classes and  likes to see her students’ sketches and storyboards of their projects and having strategic discussions with them. Seeing how their ideas influenced their final project makes her want to “celebrate.” She pushes her students to embody the role of a graphic designer and in return, the students provide some pretty impressive work. “My role [as a professor] is to provide feedback and push them to the next level.” This helps establish relationships with the students, which is something that is extremely important to her. “I love the one on one time. The more I can get to know, the better work they produce.” Establishing that student to teacher relationship in the classroom helps make the class environment more fun and comfortable for everyone and allows the students to feel like they can come to their professor for help and feedback. “I came into teaching to be involved in [the] students’ lives and be a mentor [to them.]”

If she had any advice for the students here at Millikin, she would say to not be afraid of trying new things. “Don’t be scared to try a new class, it could become a side project or a career opportunity.” If you want to take a class that is out of your major standard, but it interests you, take the class and see how it works out for you. It may spark a passion inside of you that you didn’t know that you had and it could change your path to different career opportunities. It’s always a good thing to branch out and try new things.

Professor Wilcoxen’s main focus is on teaching, but she also has a future goal that she wants to achieve. There is an Arts Technology Expo on Dec. 2nd in the Student Center from 3:30-6:30 and the main point is to showcase Millikin’s students works over all the different forms of digital and graphic design. She also is a part of MillikinCreates, which is to celebrate things related to the arts and sciences and creative technology. They have a Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, all named MillikinCreates to get more information about it and the works that they do.

Millikin welcomes Professor Wilcoxen to the Big Blue Family and wishes her the best of luck in her teachings for her first year.