Jim Crossan

Professor Emeritus

Professor Emeritus Nomination For Jim Crossan

January 2000

Jim Crossan started to work for Sheridan in 1969, two years after the opening of the college. Initially, Professor Crossan taught design and drawing in the Animation, Illustration, Creative Arts, Fashion, and Graphic Design Programs. In 1971, Professor Crossan began teaching in the Art Education Program, the predecessor to the Art and Art History Program - he has been an invaluable member of the Art and Art History faculty ever since.

Professor Crossan brought his professional involvement in industrial design, package design, and graphic design to his teaching. His technical background was a jumping-off point for a lifetime of dedicated research and a commitment to understanding the nature of and reasons for innovation in design. Professor Crossan's definition of design was very broad and included art, architecture, furniture, print, and all manner of historical and contemporary gizmos (of which he has a considerable collection). He, in fact, has collections of a great many things - pop-up children's books, toasters, radios, egg beaters - all of which he would share with his classes and use as a basis for discussion. Over the past fifteen years, Professor Crossan refocused the design stream curriculum to take advantage of computer-aided design, and introduced students to the impact of postmodernity on visual thinking. Professor Crossan offered one of the first courses in computer-aided design at the college (FAS 332Y Computers and Art, Art and Art History).

Jim Crossan and third-year student Angela Macdonald at the 1989 A&AH Awards Event
Professor Crossan's interest in art and design history, as well as in nurturing students' personal directions, informed the projects he set for his classes, and made him a popular instructor. Additionally, he took great care to discuss his ideas and curriculum with other faculty, and to present the work of his students to the public in exhibitions accompanied by informative written accounts of his projects. His dedication to personal growth and to the exchange of ideas has made him a dynamic colleague and an integral part of the development of Art and Art History's evolving, (and, we believe) vital curriculum.

Along with his many obligations as an instructor, Professor Crossan was involved with the development of the faculty association, and subsequently served over fifteen years as a union steward. He took on the responsibility of representing both part-time and full-time faculty with seriousness and compassion.

Professor Crossan accepted an early retirement two years ago, and has since taught in the Art and Art History Program on a part-time basis. In a typical gesture, he has decided not to return to teaching next year in order to allow the program more flexibility in trying out new faculty. Art and Art History Program Faculty feel that Professor Crossan's longstanding commitment to Sheridan students and faculty has been exemplary, and we are pleased to recommend him to the college as a most deserving Professor Emeritus.