Akram Taghavi-Burris
Akram Taghavi-Burris

Akram Taghavi-Burris

Assistant Professor of
Graphics & Imaging Technologies

I’m an educator, designer, writer, crafter, baker, sewer, and vintage collector,
who brings creative and crazy ideas to life.

My Thoughts on Teaching

If we all pursued an education we could stand as single nation
There’d be peace no war, no famine or poor
Think of all we’d find if only we’d open our mind
Bless the teacher who encourages and inspires you
For every boy and girl could someday change the world

Teaching at Pitt State

In the fall of 2011 I took the position of Assistant Professor of Graphics & Imaging Technologies (GIT) at Pittsburg State University, in Pittsburg, Kansas. As part of my responsibilities I would be developing the curriculum and courses for the newly approved emphasis in Web & Interactive Media.

I am currently the lead instructor for five courses in the GIT department which include: Web Graphics, Software, Web & Motion Graphics, Web Site Design, Interactive Media Design, Web Content Management. These courses mix art and technology and focus on developing skills in both web design and web programing. Students are required to develop both a functional and aesthetically pleasing product in each of these courses.

As a teacher students are always my first priority. I maintain 12 office hours a week and can be reached outside the office through email or even Facebook and Twitter to answer student questions.

I am also faculty advisory for 30 students and faculty advisor to the Gamma Epsilon Tau (Graphics Honors Society). As an advisor my role is to mentor and guide the students form helping developing their class schedules or even planning a club fundraiser.

Samples of Teaching

I strive to provide the best possible materials and instruction to my students. The goal is to help students develop skills necessary to graduate and find gainful employment. Below are some examples of how I archive this.

Course Syllabus

In my syllabi I strive to make the course objectives clear and concise while also making it fun and creative. The idea behind the design is to show graphic students how even a syllabus can be a graphic design piece.

Sample Syllabus

Student Comments

Every semester I eagerly wait the return of my student evaluations (ESPTE). I think the comment portion is the most important part, because it helps me identify where I can improve my teaching. It also is great to tell if students were really absorbing the content and enjoying the class.

Comment 1
Comment 2
Comment 3

Kind Words

Anna Ribeiro Postcard
As a teacher it’s always rewarding to receive a kind messages from students, letting you know that you that you have made an impact on their lives.

This postcard was given to me by one of my former students, Anna Ribeiro. I keep it on my bulletin board in my office to remind myself why I teach and why I continue better myself as a teacher.

Recruiting Students

I am very active with recruitment and participate with many activities. I have taken the lead in preparing for the Rumble in the Jungle events in the fall.

I give countless tours throughout the semester as well as assist with the KTC Open House and Pitt CARES.

I also participate in off campus recruiting events such as ‘Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day’ a STEM event held every February. I have participated in this event for the last 3 years.

Rumble in the Jungle
Rumble in the Jungle

Rumble in the Jungle

Helping Students

Whether it be mentoring students in our student organization, advising students or just answering questions, I’m always happy to help when and wherever I can.

On the right is a screen grab of a chat I had with a student, who happen to message me in Facebook one night asking for help on a project.

I also spend many off hours helping students in our student organizations. Whether it is taking them to a field trip, helping them screen print, or just setting up an event.

Screen Printing
Helping Screen Print
Helping Students
Helping Students

Facebook Help

Graduation & Employmet

Seeing your students graduate is one of the most rewarding things for any teacher. Knowing you had a small part in helping develop this group of talented individuals makes it all worthwhile.

One of my favorite parts of the semester is the annual GIT Pinning Ceremony. During this event all GIT students dressed in their regalia pose for photos with the faculty and get their GIT alumni pin, pinned to their robes by a GIT faculty member

GIT Graduation Pinning
GIT Pinning

The second most satisfying thing for a teacher is seeing their student get a job in their field of study. I am always happy to be a reference for students who excel in their discipline.

Zach Minor Hired

Scholarly Activity

Since the field of web and interactive media is one that is changing on a daily basis as new programing languages, techniques and technology are constantly being introduced. In order for our students to maintain and edge over others entering the job market they must be equipped with the latest skills.

This requires continuous education on my part as faculty to ensure that I am providing students with the most current techniques. I’ve also researched new teaching methods as well as presented at conferences and published articles online.

Scholarly & Creative Endeavors

Below are just a few of the scholarly works I have and are currently pursuing.

Get Creative Today

Get Creative Today

Currently I developed and maintain Get Creative Today an online learning resource where I publish articles and lessons, which I use in lieu of a textbook. I also frequently post on articles on social media on web technology/trends and general Adobe/Design topics.

Speaking & Conferences

I’ve been able to both speak at and attend many professional conferences and events such as:

  • Go Blog Social 2015
  • CTL Professional Development Day 2014 (Speaker)
  • Go Blog Social 2014
  • CTL Professional Development Day 2013
  • WordCamp KC 2013 (Speaker)
  • Four State Teaching Conference 2012 (Speaker)
  • CTL Professional Development Day 2012 (Speaker)
  • Four State Teaching Conference 2011 (Speaker)
WordCamp KC

Research & Development

Research and development is a part of any professor’s workload. I have worked towards development of new curriculum and teaching methods through personal research and assistance from the Center for Teaching and Learning.

In 2012 I was accepted for the iPad Pilot, which was funded by Office of the Provost. They provided a number of iPads to distribute to students to use for their coursework throughout the semester. In my Web Site Design course students used the iPads to develop mobile friendly websites.

Blogging Research

Another research project I’ve been deeply involved in is the use of blogging in the classroom. Blogging also provides students the ability to formalize written ideas, comments, collaborate with others, and build a community. The goal of my research aims to provide practical application of implementing blogging as a method for mastering course competencies.

In my Web Graphics Software course, I have incorporated blogging as both a “Writing to Learn” element and a technique for students to expand upon what they learn in the classroom. Data collection for this research is obtained through pre and post survey of the students.

The results are quite astonishing with 85% of students stating that the blogging actually helped them process what they where learning.

Student Testimonials on Blogging

“I really liked that we did these blogs. I thought it was kind of weird at first, but it really helps to put what you’ve learned in to words to
share with others.
The blogs also made us explore things for ourselves like how to use Pinterest for business purposes, what current web design trends are, or even what not to do when creating a website.”

Creative Endeavors

Creativity is a big part of the field of study in which I teach. It is important for me to stay creative while encouraging students to develop their own creative skills.

I participate in several creative endeavors throughout the year. Most recently I was able to work on the GIT window graphics, which won a Gold Addy from the American Advertising Federation (AAF) this past February.

AAF Award Mailer

AAF Mailers

As a member of the AAF, I worked on the Addy planning committee and was able to produce this year’s Addy’s theme and the Call for Submission post card mailer.

Cosmic Calamities

I’ve also had the opportunity to share in the creative experience with students. In my Web and Motion Graphic course students work as a team to develop a 2D animated short. My role in the project has been instructor, director and screenplay writer. I am also pleased to say that we have won 2 Sliver Addy AAF awards in the past two years we entered a submission.

Packaging the Future Conference

Like many faculty in my department I a member of the International Graphic Artist Educators Association. GIT hosted the 2014 region 4 conference and I worked as web developer/designer for this event.

I created the website scheduling the event, as well as the functionality for online registration for users. I also developed the event logo and managed the email newsletters for the event.

GCEA Registration logo


As the web instructor I manage the GIT department PittState website and have developed our own custom website PSUGIT.com.

This 'work in progress' site is designed to showcase student work from a variety or courses.

Because site is developed using WordPress a open source content managment system, it is used in my Web Content Managment course as a resource and example to students

Akram's Ideas

In my personal time I purse other creative hobbies such as baking, sewing and crafting. I document my creative and crazy ideas on my personal blog Akram’s Ideas.

Having developed this site as well, I use it as an example to students, showing how certain code or effects can be implemented on the web.

Akram's Ideas
COT Open House
Helping with COT Openhouse


Service to the department, university, and community is a big part of a faculty member’s job. I am quite active in these areas. Within our department I sit on the marketing committee, as well as the accreditation committee.

At the university level I am a faculty representative for Faculty Senate and am currently on the Out Standing Senior Committee. In the past I have held the position of chair for both the College of Technology Departmental Honors Committee as well the University Departmental Honors Committee.

As for service to the community, I am on the graphics advisory board for Pittsburg High School, Ernie High School and Mid-America Technology Center in Oklahoma.

Graphics, Gadgets, & Games (G3) Expo

While I work on several other service projects, the one I am most proud of is the Graphics, Gadgets and Games Expo (or as we call it G3 Expo).

The G3 Expo is a community, recruiting, and department event. The expo itself s a one day conference that seeks to bring together students, educators, professionals and enthusiasts in all areas of Graphics and Imaging Technologies and highlight the 4 State Areas as a creative outlet for these fields.

The event is open and free to the public. The idea is that we share the love of graphics, gadgets and games with the community that supports our school, prospective students who may be interested in learning more about graphics, and current students who want to learn more about their field of study.

G3 Expo Speakers and More...

The event has several guest speakers, most of whom are GIT alumni and are working at top local, regional and national firms. There are also a wide range of exhibitors and workshops on a variety of topics.

Both our Graphic Arts Club and Gamma Epsilon Tau student organizations host this event. I am the lead coordinator for the G3 Expo and manage all the event details, from scheduling speakers, to talking to exhibitors.

Students talking to industy exhibtor
Students talking to exhibtor

Coordinating the event
Coordinating the Event

Coordinating G3 Expo

As coordinator for this event I start the planning during the summer which also includes the development of the website.

During the fall semester the call for speakers and exhibitors opens and I actively start seeking individuals and organizations to participate in this event.

Late December thru February I manage the advertising and social media campaigns for the event.

I also coordinate the volunteer schedule, set-up/tear down and the event activities the day of the even.t