Dr. Rob Quinn is an Assistant Professor of Digital and Visual Art and the Chair of the Digital and Visual Art Department. Quinn first considered teaching as a career in fifth grade. He made the decision to become an art teacher in the seventh grade after being in the art classes of the best teacher he has known, Dave Kiesling, in Plattsburg, Missouri. Kiesling was a tremendous influence on Quinn’s life, career, and pedagogy.
“I was an artist, as many children are, from the beginning. I was the kid who spaced out in class (first through sixteenth grades) and drew pictures in the margins of my papers. Still do. I lived for the assignments and class projects that required building and designing things. Years later in graduate school I would learn, for the first time, that I am actually a visual / kinesthetic learner. We used to call it ‘right brained.’ It’s the way my brain is wired and it finally made sense why I struggled in school with math and linear type thinking. Still do! I was blessed to have parents who encouraged my art expression and my career goals. And I was fortunate to be able to take four years, eight semesters, of high school art which helped fan the flames of my passion,” said Quinn.
Quinn earned a Bachelor of Science in Education and a Master of Science in Education from Northwest Missouri State University. He also completed coursework and part of the dissertation for a Doctorate of Education from Baker University.
Before joining Jewell faculty, Quinn began teaching art at Lathrop High School, in Lathrop Mo., where he served for seven years. Then he taught secondary art in the Liberty School District for fourteen years. While there, he also taught adjunct metal smithing and photography courses at Jewell. He will be retiring after teaching at Jewell for eighteen years.
“I’ve been asked why I didn’t attend Jewell when most of my family did, and it was simply because Jewell didn’t offer an Art Education major at the time. I had been good-naturedly teased about being the black sheep of the Jewell alums in the family, but I was able to redeem myself, to everyone’s satisfaction, by becoming part of the faculty,” said Quinn.
Although Dr. Quinn is scheduled to retire from full time teaching next semester, he will not be in full retirement. He plans to continue to teach adjunct classes at Jewell in the fall and in the future. He will also enjoy some free time to work on side projects and be around his granddaughters.
“I might finish that dissertation, or not. I have several sculpture ideas ready to be completed. If I win the lottery, I may donate funds to establish the Johnson-Nore-Quinn School of Visual Art at William Jewell College. But most importantly I plan to hang around my granddaughters more who are eight, five, and three months, so they can teach me how to be a better artist,” said Quinn.
Quinn’s greatest joy in being a teacher has always been working with students. It is what motivated and sustained him. He also greatly appreciates the collegiality and friendships he formed at Jewell. He feels honored to be part of the Jewell family.
“Some of my earliest memories are of hearing about William Jewell in reverential tones from my parents and grandparents, and visiting the campus with my dad as a child. Jewell was considered a sacred place to our family. It represented the highest standards of learning, opportunity, possibility, and a future. Jewell has been a part of the interwoven fabric of our family, and I can recall even as a small child of understanding that it was a special, even magical, place. To become a part of that heritage has truly been a blessing and privilege,” said Quinn.
Photos by Mykala Crews.