Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Matthew Tiessen

Final_MTiessen“Finding your own voice and style includes trial and error, doubts, ambiguity, and failures.”

While his tenure track position as an Assistant Professor on the tenure track in the School of Professional Communication will officially start in August 2014, Dr. Matthew Tiessen has already taught various ProCom undergraduate and graduate courses in visual communication and digital culture, including the MPC course PC8006 – Advanced Editing and Document Design.

Dr. Tiessen obtained his PhD in Interdisciplinary Studies in Visual Culture and Critical Theory from the University of Alberta in 2010, and also holds a BFA in Fine Arts (Studio). Dr. Tiessen’s artwork has been exhibited at the University of Waterloo Art Gallery and the Art Gallery of Alberta. As a scholar, he is a recipient of the 2013 SSHRC Insight Development Grant for his work in the area of the “Digital Economy.” His research interests in the phenomenon of gamification investigates how mobile platforms “allow us to shift the way we evaluate benefits” and “the new ways computers and algorithms are being used to monitor, assess, incentivize and control our everyday lives.”

As a teacher, Dr. Tiessen’s classes function “as mini theoretically-driven, digitally-enabled, visually-oriented, and practically-minded think tanks.” When asked why he thinks it’s so important for us to be visually oriented, he notes that, “we are always asked to reinvent ideas… in order for us to do that, it is important to for us to see the world differently — to be experimental, innovative, and creative.” Borrowing aspects of visual communication, Dr. Tiessen teaches his students that approaching things visually can be an efficient way to “look at the overlooked” – or simply, looking at the same things to see something new.

When asked about his outlook on success, Dr. Tiessen reflected on his own experience creating art and mentioned that “finding your own voice and style includes lots of trial and error, ambiguity, doubts, and failures.” He states, “never stop exploring and experimenting… if you do, you will have a hard time loving what you’re doing.”

For more information, visit his short bio on ProCom’s website, or visit his website at www.matthewtiessen.com