Amy Lixl-Purcell began her career at UNCG in 1989 as a lecturer and by 1996 she had launched a pilot course called "Design with a Computer." There were skeptics at the time, but the success of the course was undeniable. Over the following years, Professor Lixl-Pucell created the curriculum for a new concentration in the Art Department - Digital Design. She single-handedly developed and taught nine entirely new courses, from the entry level to advanced levels, and led the way in planning and equipping a digital design studio in the new Gatewood Studio Arts Building. Her early success has been dramatically compounded. Today, the design concentration has over 200 majors and the program’s popularity continues to grow. One of her colleagues testified that, "her contributions to the Art Department have been nothing short of transformational, and critical to the current and future success of the teaching of visual arts at UNCG." She was recognized for these achievements locally in 1998, when she received the UNCG College of Arts and Sciences Teaching Excellence Award, and regionally in 2003, when she was given a Teaching Excellence Award by the Southeastern College Art Conference.
This pioneering work provided Professor Lixl-Purcell with a platform for generating an astonishing array of collaborative works, panels and lectures, and outreach projects, involving not only her students but colleagues, professionals, and artists from near and far. As she states in her teaching portfolio: "I enhance my teaching by encouraging a dialogue between my classroom and the world." A major example of such creative collaboration was DATS-the Design, Art, and Technology Symposium - that she spearheaded and directed. Held at UNCG over three days in March 2008, it featured individuals from regional design, architecture, and technology businesses and organizations, film screenings, keynote presentations, panel discussions, and technology workshops. Five hundred participants registered for this event. A colleague of hers observed: "For the 2008 DATS program, she made sure that students were involved at all levels of participation and a regional student design exhibition was a central focus of the symposium." It is no wonder, then that Amy Lixl-Purcell is regularly described as "committed" and "passionate" about her work with students in and beyond the classroom.
Her uncanny ability to fruitfully bring together students and colleagues of varying perspectives and levels of experience is perhaps best exemplified by her course ART 540, Digital Visualization. There, undergraduates with skills in digital media work with MFA candidates specializing in other traditional art media to imagine, test and plan their creative work in new ways. One former MFA student in painting, who admitted having been absolutely uninterested in using the computer for anything other than for word processing, found herself totally transformed by her experience in this particular course: "I learned to love the digital world and its applications." This testimonial and others like it provide evidence of Professor Lixl-Purcell’s many successes in guiding her students and encouraging them to surprise themselves.