Rees Shad
Rees ShadLead Principal Investigator

Over the course of the last thirty years I have been a media designer working in a wide variety of mediums, but most prominently the recording arts.  While still in college, I started Sweetish Recording Studios, which over the next 15 years expanded into a record company with several successful international releases including the Grammy nominated ‘All the King’s Men.’ The success of these companies led me to start a music publishing subsidiary with offices in upstate New York, Nashville, and Los Angeles. In the mid-nineties I began exploring interactive media and started Sweetish Interactive where I was involved in developing design for early Internet and CD-ROM media. All the while, I was touring the world promoting several albums I recorded as a singer/songwriter.  To date I have released nine solo albums.

In 1999, I left the music business to go to graduate school in order to pursue an academic career.  I gained my MS in technical communication with a focus in usability and human computer interaction from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. I then continued on to Parsons the New School of Design for an MFA in Design and Technology where I focused on physical computing, interface design and non-linear narrative while beginning my academic career there as an adjunct professor.

My work developing courses in Freshman BFA foundation and MFA usability courses caught the attention of my superiors. Apparently, when a representative from the Office of Academic Affairs (OAA) at Hostos Community College asked for the recommendation of a faculty member to help the school develop design curriculum, my name was at the top of the list.  I was hired soon after that as a consultant for OAA, and developed a Design and Animation curriculum for Hostos.  This involved the development of over 24 new courses for the college and the design of an overarching degree program curriculum incorporating them with general education requirements and pre-existing courses in the visual arts.  Soon after, the provost became aware of my background in the music industry, and I was asked to also develop a digital music program involving 17 new courses and updating five existing courses.  It was not long before I was approached to teach the courses I had developed and soon after I was given a full time position teaching, coordinating, and promoting the programs I had developed.

Since then I have developed a third degree program in Game Design, which is currently going through the process of being approved.  The end goal is to develop degree programs in which students interact and collaborate with one another across disciplines in order to mirror real world media design and develop our students into effective and successful professionals.

I have approached the development of these degree programs holistically, and have always been clear that a successful program must be constantly modified and deliberated upon in order to keep its information current and its graduates worthy applicants for the marketplace. The development of pedagogy must rely upon the refinement of and consideration of assessment tools. I have dedicated a great deal of energy toward developing our program and conceiving of the portfolio process with professor Lewis in order to continually refine and improve our approach. This research grant is extremely important to our programs in order to provide us with the tools and time to do our jobs more effectively.