Associate professor returns to Fort Collins after almost 30 years: Ryadi Adityavarman

Adityavarman standing in front of a green space.
Ryadi Adityavarman

Ryadi Adityavarman is an associate professor in the Department of Design and Merchandising at Colorado State University. Learn more about why he came to CSU and his teaching philosophy.

1. What brought you to the Department of Design and Merchandising at CSU?

I am honored to join as a new faculty member because of the teaching focus in our department and college. Motivating and guiding students to achieve their optimal learning potential is my passion.

Fort Collins has always had a special meaning for me and my wife. This was the starting place when we arrived from Indonesia as a young, newly-wed couple almost 30 years ago. Since then I have been waiting for a chance to return. So, when there was an open faculty position with a teaching emphasis in the Interior Architecture and Design program, I immediately applied. Needless to say, my wife and I are grateful to be here as the completion of the circle of our life journey.

2. What’s your teaching philosophy?

Teaching is essentially motivating and connecting. I believe sincerity and honesty in teaching intention are able to overcome any barriers. Every morning before class, I try to remind myself of that so my teaching is as selfless as possible. There is a wise quote from Rumi that I translated and embraced wholeheartedly in my teaching pedagogy: teach each student to listen to music carefully, so they can make their own music beautiful. I am always rejuvenated by learning together with my students, so I hope I can continue teaching as long as I can.

3. What are your research interests, and how did you get into that topic?

I have always been interested by a variety of subjects. Typically I am more curious about the interconnection and relationship between subjects than a particular subject itself. Thus, interdisciplinary work is the core of my scholarly endeavors. As teaching is my focal activity, the topic of my research is a natural extension related to creativity in design education. For instance, I am teaching sketching and that motivated me to investigate drawing from a postmodernist education philosophy using the theoretical framework of Michael Polanyi. A couple years ago, I received an International Peace Fellowship to study at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok. In the program, I participated in the post-earthquake reconstruction in Nepal and war refugee settlement in Thailand. That enhanced my scholarly interest in humanitarian initiatives and social justice in design, including the sustainability of architecture and cultural identity for marginal communities.

4. What’s your favorite thing about campus?

I appreciate the overall atmosphere of the campus with its combination of park-like open spaces, well-designed buildings, and the scenic foothills always resting in the background. Most importantly, I sense a respectful yet friendly attitude in our students. When I was given a tour of the campus by a student guide during my faculty candidacy visit, I asked her what her most important impression of campus is as a CSU student. Her answer was beautiful: students are happy and healthy! Then I knew for certain: this is the right place.

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