Since 1988, Dennis "Craig" Roland worked at UF as a professor, coordinator, administrator and assistant director of the School of Art + Art History.
“I came here a teacher and I left a teacher, designer, mentor, counselor, facilitator and technician,” Roland said. “Teaching art is like a circus tent, and I’m the ring leader.”
Roland aspired to make his classroom a place for creativity and curiosity. Many of his students were studying to be teachers themselves, so he often encouraged them to think about how they personally would make teaching memorable.
“I wanted them to remember my classroom as a place to ask questions and seek answers, as well as a place where they could find their voices as teachers, artists and human beings,” Roland said.
Through all these years working in the School of Art + Art History, Roland explained he learned much from his students and had many favorite memories.
“Some of them were very small and private moments: students engaged in the art making process that I just happened to witness,” Roland said. “Then there are others that are more communal and collaborative, like the Sumi Ink Club and the Community Maps project.”
Even in retirement, he still plans to stay busy. He is currently working on some art projects, writing projects, making travel plans, fixing up his house, doing a bit of consulting work and editing an art journal. With all of this, he casually explained he is just enjoying life.
Roland reflected on his time at UF as a grand adventure and learning experience. He said he enjoyed the hustle, creation and motivation of the arts departments, like one enjoys a hobby rather than a job.
“I was a jack of all trades and a master of none,” he said. “I never thought of it as a job; I thought of it as way of life.”