SJSU’s Tina Korani receives 2019 CSU Faculty Innovation and Leadership Award

Tina Korani, second from left, poses with School of Journalism and Mass Communications students during a graduate student showcase.

Tina Korani, second from left, poses with School of Journalism and Mass Communications students during a graduate student showcase.

Assistant Professor of Media Design Tina Korani joined San Jose State University in fall 2017. In just two short years, she has made a lasting impression on her students and how media design is taught at SJSU. She has been named by the California State University Chancellor’s Office as a 2019 Faculty Innovation and Leadership Award recipient for her dedication to experiential learning.

Korani is passionate about using new technologies to improve the learning experience. She believes that developing students’ digital skills and literacy should be a key focus of higher education. She said, “technology is moving our world forward at a rapid pace and we as educators should prepare our students for the workforce of tomorrow by incorporating digital literacy into our teaching to help students become successful in their careers.”

“I seek to provide my students with the necessary tools to move well beyond foundational skills and forward in their design thinking and creativity,” she said. “I provide relevant, real life application and foster collaboration, as I help them become stronger thinkers, collaborators, explorers, communicators, and designers.”

Tina Korani

Tina Korani

Her teaching philosophy is to empower students to be: confident, creative thinkers with exceptional presentation skills, compassionate, curious collaborators who seek opportunities to contribute to various projects, mindful explorers who look to expand their knowledge in solving problems with persistence and know-how to communicate their ideas and document this process effectively.

“I believe that undergraduate design education should connect to the real world and as a course of action I actively plan and devise practical experiences in and outside the classroom. These play a role in developing critical problem-solving skills, creativity, and communication skills and at the same time drive student engagement and retention,” she said.

Her students present their concepts and the process of their designs for each project to the entire class during weekly critique sessions, then they complete a mid-critique where students hear feedback before finalizing their designs. She said she believes critiques are a strong core to students’ learning that teaches them how to approach ideas critically while strengthening their communication and presentation skills. She also requires students to submit a process book that contains their sources of inspiration, research, sketches, and the steps on how they came up with their idea and final product.

“By documenting these steps for each project, my students learn value in this process and see personal growth,” she said.

Korani also engages students in research and conference presentations. She mentored a team of graduate students who developed “Bridge Brain: Engaging with the Next-Generation of Academic Scholars,” a web-based, peer-to-peer collaborative platform for university networking for research projects. The students were invited to present their work at the 2018 DECIPHER (Design Educators Research Conference). The students also won the 2018 Best Education Innovation Award in SJSU’s Silicon Valley Innovation Challenge.

Korani was selected for CSU’s Faculty Innovation and Leadership Award after being nominated by peers in the School of Journalism and Mass Communications as well as students, who created a video testimonial touting their professor.

“Her class provides students with unique experiential learning that is different than the typical lecture format of many other professors,” said Jihye Woo, a graduate student in Mass Communications. “The newly learned skills are more easily transferable outside the classroom and to our future careers.”

Professor Korani and students in MCOM 284: Advanced User experience class.

Professor Korani and students in MCOM 284: Advanced User experience class.

Woo noted that five of the graduate students in her program selected Korani as an advisor because of her “dedication, perseverance and compassion.”

“The School of Journalism and Mass Communications lives and dies on our ability to keep up with a rapidly advancing technological media landscape,” wrote Professor Scott Fosdick, graduate coordinator, in his nomination letter. “Assistant Professor Korani was hired to keep us on the cutting edge. She hasn’t let us down.”

Associate Professor Diane Guerrazzi shared in her nomination letter Korani’s interactions with journalists from the country of Georgia who visited SJSU as part of a Media Education Partnership through the U.S. State Department.

“In hands-on sessions, they designed infographics to visualize data, giving them valuable new tools of expression in their storytelling for their television, web and print media outlets,” Guerrazzi wrote. “I observed the way Professor Korani took care to explain the steps, in spite of a language barrier.  She patiently answered questions and encouraged participants to ask questions.”

Korani has presented her work and led workshops in the Adobe San Jose office during CSU/Adobe Digital Literacy Day and is honored to serve as an Adobe Education Leader (Adobe Education Leaders are dedicated to enhancing creativity and collaboration and improving the teaching and learning experience. They share their expertise through workshops and conferences and help develop standards-based curriculums that are used worldwide).

In service to her community, she has started teaching free mobile application design bootcamps for youth at Central Park Library in Santa Clara. She has also been helping to organize and served as a juror in many art contests, such as International Mother Language Day Art Contest and exhibition at the Children Discovery Museum in San Jose.

Korani holds an M.F.A. in graphic design from Louisiana State University and a bachelor’s in visual communication from Art University of Tehran. Her research centers on the use of interactive technologies to enhance learner engagement, education equity, and accessibility. She has introduced the use of emerging technologies into her teaching, and overall within the School of Journalism & Mass Communications. She is involved in multiple grants, and her projects range from training at-risk students on new media literacy in area high schools to creating a mobile app within her role as a co-investigator in a Breast Cancer Survivorship Project.

She is the recipient of multiple awards from the American Advertising Federation, including a National ADDY Award, and a Gold District 7 ADDY Award in 2017. As a speaker and educator, Korani has presented her work at numerous academic and professional conferences.