Hennepin Technical College Professor Nominated for Education Award
A Hennepin Technical College professor is passing his passion for good design on to decades of students. Now, he’s being honored for that.
“I try to inspire students to figure things out for themselves. In a nutshell, that’s what I do,” said Paul Howlett, who teaches graphic design.
Howlett has been with the school for 25 years. Over those years, his work has not gone unnoticed– not by his students or his colleagues.
“I feel like he is the cornerstone of this department,” said Lina Sadeddin, a lab assistant at Hennepin Tech. “He knows everything, in and out.”
Sadeddin has been in both roles: student and colleague. She worked with him as she got her degree, and now works as a lab assistant at HTC.
She nominated Howlett for an award from the MinnState Board of Trustees. A member of the Hennepin Tech faculty is typically nominated most years and either receives the Excellence in Teaching or an Educator of the Year award.
“I think he is an inspiring figure at HTC. I kind of feel like as an instructor and faculty here, he does lead us to success, as well as the students,” Sadeddin said.
Howlett said he is grateful– but he doesn’t do it for the awards.
“I’ve been a creative source to myself, and that is what I want other people to figure out. How do you figure out your creative source inside?” Howlett said.
It is true– his passion for his craft shines through as he teaches. He said he teaches his students to have a critical eye.
“We give judgement in the sense of: figure it out! What do you love about it? What do you not love about it? And why?” Howlett said.
Leaving a Legacy
Howlett said there can be inspiration everywhere for graphic designers. And his years in the classroom and the field are a testament to his work.
He hopes to pass this along to his students. Walking through the design hallway at Hennepin Tech, you can see an array of work designed by students. Looking at those displays, it’s clear the inspiration is sinking in.
“I want them to be a creative problem-solver that will calm or ease the mind of clients,” Howlett said. “Everything we do has an intention of purpose to it.”
Howlett said he’s teaching generations to leave a legacy of good design.
The school will learn if Howlett won the honor within the next few weeks.