He teaches students to be creative, and to trust their creative instincts — valuable skills that benefit them no matter what path they take after college.
“Creative arts adds a skill where students can adapt to the dynamic, ever-changing world and be able to survive,” he said. “I teach my students to adapt and become creative at the workplace.”
Steel, associate professor of fine arts and new media communication at Indiana University Kokomo, uses creativity to guide students towards success, preparing them for a fast-changing world. As students head out to the “real world,” it’s essential that students learn to adapt to their environment.
His goal is for students to be who they want to be.
“Part of education is helping people figure out what they really want in life, in order to be a happy human being,” he said. “This is our goal ultimately here at IU Kokomo.”
Through his classes, Steel hopes his students can grasp courage, happiness, and look at the world with endless possibilities
“People think they are not creative enough, but everybody is creative in their own way, they just have to find it,” he said. “I hope they feel they can have the life that they want to have, and that no one can tell them they can’t.”
Steel wants his students to be happy with the person that they are and not necessarily what society wants them to be.
“It’s about validating that inner human, that needs to come out,” he said.
In addition to teaching, he’s focused his own creative work on video and photography during the last 20 years. He knows that most of his students are visual learners, and his teaching style gives the students the tools for success, and for hopes of reaching the right outlet of expression.
“Images can communicate complex, sublime things that we don’t have words for them, but yet we can communicate this through imagery,” he said.
In the last year, Steel’s work has been featured in seven international exhibitions in seven countries, most recently in China, Russia, London, and Spain. He is currently working on his Ph.D., in philosophy, and his dissertation is "The Sublime as Nexus of Faith and Reason."
Story written by Jeaneth Tavares. Jeaneth is an intern in the Office of Media & Marketing.
Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.