Soon-to-be department chair aims to keep serving students

Ting Chi's goals include continuing to use industry-relevant curriculum

Ting+Chi%2C+professor+and+soon-to-be+chair+of+WSU%E2%80%99s+Apparel%2C+Merchandising%2C+Design+and+Textiles%2C+stands+in+the+middle+of+a+group+of+students.+Chi+will+begin+as+department+head+June+1.+%0A

COURTESY OF TING CHI

Ting Chi, professor and soon-to-be chair of WSU’s Apparel, Merchandising, Design and Textiles, stands in the middle of a group of students. Chi will begin as department head June 1.

CHERYL AARNIO, Evergreen reporter

WSU’s Apparel, Merchandising, Design and Textiles department is home to Ting Chi, AMDT professor and soon-to-be chair. 

Chi said textiles are his passion, which he found early on in life. His grandfather was an engineer for a textile machinery company, so Chi got to know the industry as a child. 

In his new role as chair, Chi said he would like the department to keep providing the best education for textile, apparel and fashion students at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Chi will begin his appointment June 1.

“It’s always my passion to serve AMDT at different capacities,” he said.

When asked to be the new chair, Chi said that he did not consider it a wholly different experience than what he was already doing. The role requires more responsibility, but he said he has passion for the discipline and experience in the department has him feeling prepared. The position will allow him to help in a bigger way, Chi said.

Chi said he taught in the AMDT department for 12 years, and he instructed about 700 students.

“Every time I saw students being successful in their career in the industry, it’s really a rewarding experience for me,” Chi said.

He said he likes to include real-world industry examples in his classes. One of his former students was able to apply his teaching of some of the industry’s sustainable practices to her professional work.

Continuing to collaborate with the industry and using industry-relevant curriculum is critical for students, he said.

Rebecca Anderson, an AMDT graduate student with a focus in apparel merchandising, said she first met Chi about five years ago when she was an undergraduate.

During the department’s celebration for its graduating students, Anderson said Chi told her parents that she should stay at WSU for graduate school.

“Hearing him say that to my parents was one of the biggest things that showed he really cared about my progress and my education,” Anderson said.

Anderson said she noticed while working as Chi’s TA that he made a point to remember students’ names and to ask about their progress.

Chi said providing hands-on opportunities is essential for AMDT, but it is necessary that faculty be prepared for the different ways classes may be offered in the fall due to the pandemic. 

The spring semester was challenging because of online learning, Chi said.

Now that professors already have some online teaching experience under their belts from last semester, he said they learned new strategies and ways to deliver content.

He said he hopes smaller classes, such as sewing or design studios, can be offered in-person so students can have more hands-on practice.

Watching a simulation or a video, he said, gives someone an idea of how to use a specific machine. However, using and practicing on a machine is different from watching someone else use it.

Anderson said she was rooting for Chi to become the new chair. 

“I think he really is going to do well in this position just because of how much he cares about everybody in the department,” she said.