What does it take to be an instructor at Full Sail University?
Published on Jan 9, 2020 by Bridgette Cude
We answer your questions about Full Sail’s faculty
At Full Sail University, we believe instructors should not only have the academic prerequisites to teach a course, but also the professional experience and industry knowledge that makes them an expert in their area of study.
But we don't stop there. We also hire faculty members based on an extensive list of personal traits and qualifications that make them an educator who is inspiring, patient, committed, and passionate about their craft.
Here are some of the ways we evaluate and prepare instructors to teach at Full Sail:
What are the education and professional requirements for instructors at Full Sail University?
Education requirements for Full Sail instructors vary depending on their degree program level. For example, Course Directors for bachelor's degrees must possess a related degree of at least the same level as the course the faculty member is teaching. For master's degree programs, at least 50 percent of the courses must also be taught by faculty with a master’s degree.
We also require that faculty in core courses have a minimum of four years of related industry work and experience. Full Sail instructors must be able to explain academic theory alongside practical instruction for what actually happens in the workplace.
"You're not coming to Full Sail to learn from someone who just got a degree in the field and has never worked in it," says Angelique Smith, Full Sail Faculty Affairs & Development Director.
"Students are coming here to learn from someone who's actually worked in a film studio, who's worked on a set, who's worked in a recording studio, who's done software development or game design or animation or simulation and visualization."
What other requirements does Full Sail have for instructors?
Beyond academic and professional requirements, Full Sail also looks for specific personality traits that make for an effective educator and work well in our learning environment. The extensive list of traits includes things like patience, community involvement, and the ability to inspire.
Empathy is one of the most important traits in a Full Sail instructor, says Angelique. "Education is supposed to be a safe space where students can practice skills before they get into the high-stakes world of their employment and their career. We want faculty who are going to be coaches and mentors and people who can guide them."
We also look for effective communicators. "Just because you're an expert in the industry, and you've been able to do the craft really well doesn't mean you have the ability to break that down for students who are just coming into the industry," Angelique explains.
At Full Sail, effective communication doesn't just mean our instructors are highly available to students, but they are also good listeners. "We want our faculty to be able to recognize struggles -- even if a student is not asking for help -- and to proactively engage with them to help support them."
In every interview with aspiring faculty at Full Sail University, we ask, "What's something you're passionate about?" We've built a community of passionate creatives -- people who want to stay current and relevant within their industry because they love what they do.
Creativity and adaptability
The same goes for thinking outside of the box. Our instructors are encouraged to think about how emerging trends can be applied to their teaching and how their industry can cross over in other areas of entertainment, media, and tech.
And since the entertainment industry evolves so quickly, our degree format makes it easier for instructors to evolve their curriculum 12 times a year to keep up with current events and technology.
Since Full Sail is a high-energy, fast-paced environment, our instructors have to stay consistently tuned in and turned on. Almost all of our instructors are full-time and on campus in Winter Park, Florida. "The people who are full-time here are committed to the students," says Angelique. "We don't have a huge pool of adjunct professors where teaching is their second gig. Teaching is their first and foremost responsibility."
What are the continuing education requirements for instructors?
"Learn and grow always" is one of the guiding principles of Full Sail University. As a part of that commitment, we require instructors to complete a minimum of 16 hours of continuing education each year.
The continuing education is aimed not only at staying current with their relevant industry but also on learning to become a better teacher through personal and professional development. Throughout the year Full Sail's Faculty Affairs & Development team offers up to 100 different workshops.
"Almost all of our instructors are still actively engaged in some part of the industry. They still work on projects, they still do gigs," says Angelique. "You don't succeed in this type of schedule and rigor where everything is so immersive unless you want to be here."