by Kim Gormley
Nancy Schill’s desk holds stacks of colorful student papers: hand-inked logos, computer graphics and sheets of marked color blocks. She is the newest professor in one of Cabrini’s newest programs, Graphic Design, which officially became a “department” this year thanks to increased student interest and higher enrollment in design courses.
Originally from central Pennsylvania, Schill joins the staff after jobs in the design departments of major companies, working from home for a while as a freelance illustrator (her work has appeared in several textbooks) and five years of teaching at nearby Harcum College. During her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her two children, gardening and caring for her cats.
One of the main things that attracted her to Cabrini was its modern computer labs and equipment. She points out that the field of graphic design has been revolutionized by computers, but that the computer is only one of many tools that students must learn, even if it is a “greedy tool” that requires a lot of time and patience. New students must be “immersed in technology” as well as drawing, painting and art history. Despite the hard work, though, it is clear that her graphic design course is also fun and creative, often revealing students’ hidden talents. “Sometimes the kids that didn’t have [a strong art background] produce the best work,” Schill said.
Schill looks forward to a growing partnership between the graphic design and communications departments, and possibly future joint projects. “I didn’t expect in my twenties to become a teacher” she said. After taking computer design courses at Philadelphia’s Moore College in 1991, however, she found that she enjoyed the classroom setting and being part of a group. “Parents say `I learn more from my kids than they do from me,’ and I think that’s also true in teaching. I learn a lot from my students.”