About the Award
The Horace T. Morse-University of Minnesota Alumni Association Award recognizes excellence in contributing directly and indirectly to student learning through teaching, research, and creative activities; advising; academic program development; and educational leadership.
Tracy Otten received this award at the Distinguished Teaching Awards ceremony on April 17, 2018.
Each year, the Alumni Association is proud to join the Office of the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost in supporting the Distinguished Teaching Awards, which recognize the outstanding work of U of M educators. Recipients of the awards are inducted into the Academy of Distinguished Teachers.
About Tracy Otten
- Professor of Studio Art
- Division of the Humanities
- University of Minnesota Morris
A celebrated artist and printmaker, Tracy Otten tailors her instruction to help students find their own voice.
Teaching studio 2-D design, drawing, and 16 types of printmaking techniques, she gives students plenty of room to experiment and push boundaries. From her they learn a variety of artistic approaches, and also safety precautions, how to pay attention to detail, and how to deal with materials in an environmentally sensitive manner.
“Printmaking tends to have more steps than other mediums, and she was able to boil down each process, making them less daunting and very achievable,” says one former student. “She even made the more mundane aspects of printmaking, like spreading tar on a metal plate, seem like an exciting event.”
Otten encourages more experienced students to make themselves available to answer questions from newer students. She also has her advanced students participate in print portfolio exchanges with students from art programs across the country—a strong incentive to work up to their full potential.
Her students learn “how to belong to a community of critical thinkers, compassionate critics, and engaged artists,” a colleague notes.
“I learned in Tracy’s critiques that when we get better, we all get better,” says another former student. “She showed me that critique is a vulnerable space where we trust one another to raise one another up.
“For students to work within their chosen field, it is essential that they develop a strong work ethic, critical thinking abilities, and a tenacious dedication to their artwork.”
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