Design Philosophy

The Scenic Designer is a storyteller.  As a designer I not only aim to serve the play by not only revealing the location, time period, and mood, but also aspire to subtly help the audience discover the true meanings and themes of the script. 

Regardless of the genre of the play a great design starts with a thoughtful analysis of the script.  This analysis and evaluation process continues throughout the research phase and beyond with each and every step of the process.  This analysis and reevaluation process that happens with each step ensures the designer is staying true to the story.

Working with the other members of the production team not only increases communication, but also collaboration.  This cooperation helps create a cohesive production that better tells the story.  Draftings, Models, and Renderings are essential to the collaborative process.  Collaboration is more than cooperation.  It requires all members of the production team to be fully invested throughout the entire process to effectively tell a cohesive story that reveal the themes of the script and convey what the director hopes to reveal to the audience.

Teaching Philosophy

I have been fortunate to know some great teachers. I would be remiss if I did not take the opportunity to study what works for them and how I can aspire to be a great teacher as well.  Below are some common attributes of these master educators that I aspire to every day.

Build a Culture of Respect.  Today’s students will not respect anyone if they are not shown respect in return.  The ability to communicate honestly with students helps form a positive relationship. This also includes establishing a culture of tactful honesty.  The truth is not always convenient, but it is always the best course.  Tactfully presenting the truth is an underused skill in today's society.

Enthusiastically share a deep understanding of the subject.  The best teachers engage their students. I have found that the best way for me to do this is to have fun and be enthusiastic. Students expect to learn from masters who can show the potential of the subject as well as its limitations.

Create an environment that encourages lifelong learning and the need for critical thinking. The skills required to master technology change with time. It is important that students efficiently evolve with the times to avoid obsolescence. Dissent is not discouraged in my classroom. Rational, thoughtful, and respectful conversation facilitates growth.  I encourage my students to question the answers.

Strive to improve the classroom experience.  The successful teacher always seeks better ways to teach.  This also helps keep teaching fresh and fun. It also shows students that learning is a lifelong process. Closing the assessment loop puts the data to work in making teachers better.

Share Responsibility.  The burden of learning is shared between the teacher and the student. The student and teacher must work together to get the most out of the class.

By keeping these goals in mind it keeps the students best interests at heart.  I love teaching and believe it is my calling. I look forward to watching students grow. By building a culture of respect, enthusiastically sharing my deep understanding of the subject as well as the need for critical thinking and life-long learning, and constantly working to improve my teaching I will continue to grow as an educator.

About Me...

Current Employment

Assistant Professor of Theatre at Arkansas State University since 2004.


M.F.A., Scenic Design, University of Missouri - Kansas City, 2002

B.A., Theatre and Speech Communications, Magna Cum Laude, Baker University, Baldwin City, Kansas, 1999


Photography, Stained Glass, Gardening, Jogging and Cycling.

Thanks for visiting my website!

Jeff McLaughlin