As both a designer and a historian, Dr. Patrick Lee Lucas brings to his teaching a philosophy that embraces creativity, intellectual rigor, cross-disciplinary collaboration, synthetic thinking, and community outreach to draw from his students innovative ways to understand and engage the visual world. Focusing especially on buildings—not only their interior and exterior designs, but also the objects they contain and the landscapes they contour—Dr. Lucas invites students to understand our designed environment as both a symbol of human ideas and actions and as a potent force affecting human behavior.
From undergraduate lectures in history and theory of design, to graduate seminars in material culture or research methods, to studio design for Interior Architecture majors; from first year seminars in the Lloyd International; Honors College, to an Emeritus course in the Division of Continual Learning, Dr. Lucas' teaching has, during his eight years at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, reached learners at many stages of their studies. Nor are his colleagues immune to his infectious habit of inquiry and learning: in collaboration with Ericka Hedgecock, Dr. Lucas has developed a lecture series for the Department of Interior Architecture, which, as one of his colleague reports, "has set a new standard for us all." Dr. Lucas is also a frequent participant in community events where informal learning takes place.
Seamlessly blending theory with praxis, research, community engagement, and cross-disciplinary collaboration with teaching, Dr. Lucas's signature project to date has been his work with the Lowenstein Legacy. In the success of this multi-valet, ongoing enterprise—a collaborative learning experience centered on the work of Greensboro architectural modernist Edward Lowenstein—Dr. Lucas has played a major role, not only in supervising students as they designed and installed exhibits, but also engaging them in higher-level thinking about their work and its larger meaning for mid-century modernism in the United States. The impact of such community-based learning is profound. One student remarks,
Stewardship and empowerment through design lie at the heart of each of Dr. Lucas's courses. In his course, "Community by Design," I was challenged to address the local public transportation system, taking into account elements such as Southern history, the Civil Rights Movement, community needs, poverty, disparity, and segregation. This project led me out of the studio and into the community, where Dr. Lucas has taught me to seek insight and diverse perspectives. By the end of the course, I had acquired the skill to collaborate across social boundaries to design for social change.
And a colleague adds,
The ultimate indicator of a teacher's effectiveness is the quality of his or her students' work; in Dr. Lucas's case, the work is superlative. Conceptually well developed, technically competent, and visually and verbally well communicated, his student's work is a testament to his teaching excellence. Dr. Lucas earned the Bachelor of Architecture at the University of Cincinnati, the Master of Arts in Interior Design at the University of Kentucky, and the Doctor of Philosophy in American Studies at Michigan State University.