Professor Spotlight: Charles Jeffcoat


Photo by: Christina Xan

Charles Jeffcoat gives students opportunities to practice graphic design in the real world. Jeffcoat has done graphic design for bands and organizations such as St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital and Chevelle.

Visual arts professor Charles Jeffcoat tries to give students opportunities that provide them with real- world experience beyond just what they learn in the classroom.

Born in Dothan, Ala., Jeffcoat became interested in art from an early age. During his high school career, he began to focus on visual art and took graphic design classes.

The passion that started to blossom in high school followed Jeffcoat to the University of Southern Alabama in Mobile. He earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design. After completing his undergraduate degree, Jeffcoat moved to Memphis, Tenn., where he earned his Master of Fine Art from the University of Memphis in 2005.

While completing his degrees, Jeffcoat was able to maintain a freelance design business called “Charles Jeffcoat: creative/design/ consulting.” He also taught as an adjunct professor at both of the universities that he attended.

Jeffcoat has had the opportunity to work with many well-known clients and his designs have been broadcast around the world. Some of those works have been for FMU’s Performing Arts Center, Warner Brothers and Hillsong. He has also designed for artists and bands such as Charlotte Church and Chevelle, as well as worked with the National Civil Rights Museum and St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital.

Jeffcoat is currently working on a design project with Naturally Outdoors.

“Being able to work for great companies is something to be proud of,” Jeffcoat said. “To have something be recognized by thousands of people is amazing.”

Through his work, Jeffcoat has been recognized by the American Institute of Graphic Arts and the Advertising Federation of Mobile.

After completing his master’s degree, Jeffcoat moved from Memphis to Florence, S.C., in 2006 to work for FMU.

Since moving to Florence, Jeffcoat has also helped start a partnership between the University of Koblenz at Landau in Landau, Germany, and FMU. Each year several students from Landau spend the fall semester at FMU and then in March FMU students have the opportunity to spend their summer studying in Germany.

Jeffcoat has also honed his teaching style and has helped his students succeed. During his time in Mobile, Ala., and Memphis, Tenn., Jeffcoat learned how he wanted to teach. Instead of using lectures, he decided that having a more open-style classroom would work better with his students. Jeffcoat said he believes that environment, apprenticeships, community and relationships should all be brought into the learning environment.

“I personally feel that, when all of these elements are put in their proper perspective, students of various learner types can be reached simultaneously,” Jeffcoat said.

Jeffcoat’s goal to create the right environment to encourage learning involves making the classroom feel more open and letting the students interact with everyone. Through real- world exposure, keeping up with the current technologies and trends, allowing students to learn from artists and rms and creating solid relationships, it is Jeffcoat’s goal to encourage students to think, dream and do.

With the new internship opportunities Jeffcoat is working on, between four and six students will be chosen each semester to gain real-world experience and exposure. Jeffcoat said this will give students the ability to get their names out into the graphic arts community and build a portfolio that will greatly increase their chances of nding a job and being prepared for life after graduation. The purpose of the internships is to make sure students are ready for the world outside FMU.

“My job isn’t to tell you what to do; it’s telling what you can do,” Jeffcoat said.