Department of Design and Merchandising May faculty feature – Kristen Morris

The Colorado State University Department of Design and Merchandising is highlighting the incredible talent that fosters the community of design and merchandising to showcase the unique passions of faculty and staff.

Kristen MorrisName: Kristen Morris (’03)

Pronouns: She/her/hers

What program or class best represents you? I teach product development courses, including AM375 Product Development II, AM 380/376 Prototyping and Testing for Product Development, and AM 475 Product Development III (Capstone). These courses and the topics taught therein (3D, design, technical design, design for underserved groups) represent my academic and personal interests.

What do you try to emphasize in your teaching experience? In my courses, I advocate for being your best professional self by developing your technological skills.

Further, I emphasize that how you present your skills and projects is just as important. So, in nearly every class, students develop graphic design skills and contribute to a portfolio (website). The websites are a place where students can reflect on the body of work they have accomplished throughout their academic career – and are absolutely necessary for finding jobs and internships.

Lastly, I aim to build community among the students in my classes. My hope is that by the end of the semester, all students feel like they are part of the PD community – thereby building a support network as you work through challenging courses.

What is a goal you have? A goal I have is to visit EVERY museum in Colorado. I love all museums, especially art and nature and science museums, but I also have a strong affinity for local community museums. There was a great little museum where I grew up. It was attached to the library, and I spent a ton of time in that building when I was young. It was a very well-done exhibit-even in a tiny town!

During the pandemic, I decided to visit every museum in Fort Collins because we had just recently moved here but couldn’t go out and do those things safely because of COVID-19. But, recently, I thought, why stop there? What about ALL of the museums in Colorado? So, I decided this past year that visiting every museum in Colorado seems like a good life goal that further supports my passion for life-long learning, and it is something I can do to spend time together with friends and family. There appear to be 297 museums in Colorado – I have my work cut out for me!

What is your favorite aspect of being a part of the DM department? I’m a CSU alumnus from Design and Merchandising! I graduated in 2003 with my B.S. in DM – Apparel Product Development. Back then, Product Development wasn’t a concentration. After graduating, I worked full-time as a graphic designer in Denver for two years, then I came back to DM to get my master’s degree. I had such a wonderful experience in my educational career with tremendously supportive faculty mentors. After getting my Ph.D. at Cornell University and being an assistant professor at the University of Missouri for four years, I was hired back here at CSU. I always wanted to come back and be part of the DM community, and so I worked hard to make that goal a reality!

Favorite aspect of being a part of the DM department:  My favorite thing about being in DM is that I’m now working alongside many faculty who were my instructors and mentors when I was an undergrad and graduate student. The people in DM make a great effort to make sure we are innovative, competitive, and forward-thinking in our teaching and classroom experiences. I enjoy brainstorming with the DM faculty to continually improve our classes to meet industry demand. I love implementing curricular changes that make sure we are competitive, and students (you) are proud to be a DM CSU RAM!

What is a fun fact about you that would connect with the students? I love to be outside in our beautiful community and beautiful state! Every day I always say, “I live here!” I am so happy to be back in Fort Collins. My favorite outdoor activity is trout fishing. Fishing is a nice hybrid of friendly competition and being in nature – who doesn’t like that! I’m not sure if it is a hobby, but I’m at the dog park nearly every morning in the summer with Nelson, my three-year-old cattle dog/Aussie mix. I love seeing all of the different dog breeds. BUT, my absolute favorite Colorado activity is going to Colorado Rockies baseball games. There is nothing better than being at Coors Field on a sunny afternoon/evening and enjoying the relaxing pace of baseball!

The Department of Design and Merchandising is part of CSU’s College of Health and Human Sciences.