We live in a time that points to the possibilities of a future of equality and regeneration.

It is critical for design students to embody the skills and habits-of-mind the current world requires: competent, yet humble, open but committed, empathetic and self-aware. At Baruch, I teach critical thinking through the artist’s toolbox—critique, identity, community, self-reflection focused on mastery, lifelong learning, joy—this approach directly addresses the context of “right now,” the social imagination needed to design the future. After all, change is certain.

My work in education focuses on the intersection of design-as-craft and the creation of culturally-conscious work with an emphasis on redesigning the ongoing conversation that is our shared visual culture. In design, visual expression is informed by an understanding of history, language, symbols, patterns, and image aesthetics—this ongoing conversation must include all voices, and my classes challenge students to express their voice and participate.

My experience as an artist and designer offers teachable insights, particularly on the relationship between artists and criticism, and the ability to reflectively and dynamically critique developing artwork. Class sessions model curiosity and commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility. My classes are based on the studio-model: evolution and process are the main driver, and the outcome of critique sparks student curiosity, interest, and shifts in perspective. This dynamic situation of critique and peer-review creates a shared community, where one of the main outcomes of a successful class is a shared meaningful experience.

Content is woven around history, current critical theory and semiotics, and exposure to diverse representation, as well as practical application of art and design process. Design is much more than a visual medium—it is fundamentally a human communication channel and invention tool. I use the classroom as a laboratory—change is present there as the environment changes. For me, the task is to meet each and every students’ desire for education, and to transform their perception and expectation of education and learning that is in synthesis with their individuality, life experience, values, and ambitions.



Creating Open Courses and Open Educational Resources Workshop,
Open Education and Publishing Institute, GC Digital Initiatives and the Teaching and Learning Center at the CUNY Graduate Center, New York, NY, 2022.

Secrets from the Design Studio: Techniques to Make Your Graphic Design Sing!
The Program for Visual Arts Education, Hunter College/CUNY, New York, NY, 2020 and 2021.

Eat Your Vegetables: Sneaking in Conceptual Thinking during Technical Instruction
Design Incubation, Kean University, Union, NJ, 2016.

Short Tales from Foundation Practice
CAA College Art Association, New York, NY, 2013.


Author, journal publication
“Rethinking Graphic Design Pedagogy for the CUNY Academic Commons: On Process, Generosity, and Creative Collaboration in Mapping a Foundation Graphic Design Course for Faculty and Instructors”
The Journal of Interactive Technology & Pedagogy, Issue 22. Publication date: May 2023.

Author, creator, CUNY Creative Commons
“Basic Graphic Design Communication: Baruch College/CUNY Remixable Intro to Graphic Design Course Resource", a CUNY Academic Commons site, 2022.

Co-author, Catalog essay
Brigid Watson: Material Prima, 2013.
With Dr. Lori Kent, Hunter College/CUNY
Essay on artist’s work and its place in contemporary abstraction.

Author, book review
Foundations in Art: Theory and Education, FATE in Review #34, 2013.
Book review of Carolina de Bartolo’s “Explorations in Typography”.

Author, Graphic Design blog
Creator and co-author with designer Beth Tondreau of collaborative blog discussing issues and observations around contemporary and historical design trends, 2009–2020.

Featured designer
Tondreau, Beth, Layout Essentials: 100 Principles for Using Grids, Rockport Publishers, Beverly, MA, 2009, p. 182, 188.

Author, Exhibition Catalog, essay
Stuck: The Influence of Collage on 21st Century Artists,
Molloy College Gallery, Rockville Centre, NY, 2006.


©Suzanne Dell'Orto. No text or images may be used without permission. All rights reserved.

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