Open SUNY Online Teaching Ambassador 2020: FIT – Kyunghee Pyun

Kyunghee Pyun

Kyunghee Pyun
Fashion Institute of Technology

Kyunghee Pyun is associate professor of art history at the Fashion Institute of Technology, State University of New York. Her scholarship focuses on history of collecting, reception of Asian art, diaspora of Asian artists, and Asian American visual culture. She was a Leon Levy fellow in the Center for the History of Collecting at the Frick Collection and worked on a book project entitled Discerning Languages for Exotic: Collecting Asian Art. She wrote Fashion, Identity, Power in Modern Asia (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018) discussing modernized dress in the early 20th-century Asia. As an independent curator, she has collaborated with contemporary artists in New York including Invisible Nomads & Weavers: The Yörüks, Bakerwals & Changpas, a visual ethnographic project on nomadic communities of weavers and farmers of Pashmina goats. 

Pyun has taught an online version of East Asian Art and Civilization in the regular semesters for five years and developed new online courses such as Korean Art and Civilization and Japanese Art and Civilization. These courses are offered in summer and winter semesters to enable students to broaden their cultural competencies and to enhance scheduling flexibility. She has developed a blended version of Art in New York, which is a popular field-trip based course. With a blended environment, Pyun brings exciting scenes of art museums and galleries of New York City in an online forum enhanced with diverse presentation tools including, not limited to, the Blackboard Ultra Video Conferencing, the Padlet, the Adobe Spark, the Voice Thread, the Zoom, and the Cisco WebEx. 

Pyun received a FACT2 award in 2018 for creating the Bamboo Canvas: Diverse Techniques of Asian Arts and Crafts, a digital humanities project in order to foster innovative uses of technology. The project itself was funded by the SUNY IITG (Innovative Instructional Technology Grant) twice in 2016-2017 and then 2017-2018 (with Elaine Maldonado, professor and director of Center for Excellence in Teaching at FIT). The SUNY Faculty Advisory Council on Teaching and Technology (FACT2) praised her effort of incorporating new and existing technology in ways that enhance the curriculum and engage students using methods and strategies that are scalable and transportable to other settings. As a long-time practitioner of the virtual exchange, she presented her pedagogical principles and innovative activities at many conferences around the world. Recently she was a Fulbright Specialist serving the college of art at Korea National University of Arts in South Korea in July 2019. For diverse communities of educators and instructional technologists, she has shared experiences of how her virtual exchange courses increased constructive communication and interaction takes place between individuals or groups who are geographically separated and/or from different cultural backgrounds. 

Pyun spearheads a humanities initiative project called Teaching Business and Labor History to Art and Design Students funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (2018-2021), Humanities Implementation Program with Daniel Levinson Wilk at FIT. Pyun received SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Research and FIT President’s Faculty Excellence Award. 

I have always welcomed technology in my classroom and enthusiastically embraced it in recent years. I encourage collaborative inquiry in my classes. I also do emphasize that learning is a social or communal activity. I am an enthusiast and an explorer of technological tools of pedagogy and research as a scholar of humanities. Yet, technology should not be abused or replace a wholesome encounter among learners with a glance at the monitor. It is my mission to examine the validity of software or hardware devices in consideration of fundamental and ancillary learning outcomes in each course. In the 21st century, I want my students to read classics in humanities and to augment their technology literacy of digital humanities.

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