Faculty Spotlight: Jeff Ball

Dozens of paintings, photos, sculptures and art books line the walls and floor of Associate Professor of Art History Jeff Ball’s office. He’s continually surrounded by the art he loves and that of fellow Art + Design faculty who he considers his own family. As the unofficial “Campus Art Coordinator,” Jeff voluntarily inventories, documents and tracks the maintenance of each piece of artwork in Harford’s hefty collection while helping to grow it. As the current chair of the Gallery and Art on Campus Committee, Jeff has a direct hand in acquiring faculty, student and public art that will become part of the College’s permanent collection. He and the GACC maintain and steer the many art exhibition galleries and display spaces on campus, including the Chesapeake Gallery, the Student Art Gallery, the Student Art Purchase Gallery, and the Joppa Hall Sculpture Garden, providing cultural enrichment opportunities for the campus and community to enjoy. Jeff is instrumental in deciding which student works to purchase from the Annual Juried Student Exhibition each year. As a proponent of his peers, Jeff was the driving force behind the College’s purchase of faculty work for the renovated executive leadership suite in the Library. He continues to work with campus leaders to find additional resourceful spaces on campus to house faculty and student work. Always finding ways to recognize our talented students, Jeff recently developed an ongoing opportunity to display selected student work on a rotational basis in key office spaces across campus – a unique way for students to have work showcased while employees are treated to one-of-a-kind artistic décor.

Contributing his own visionary efforts to Harford’s cultural community, Jeff curated the 2016 “Voices of Change” exhibition as well as most recently collaborating with Associate Professor of History Dr. Andrew Kellet in the “World War I's Long Shadow” exhibit, both showcased in the historic Hays-Heighe House. Jeff’s contributions to Harford’s academic distinction is evident as he pioneered the development and administration of the Professional Learning Committee at Harford, bringing together faculty in a multidisciplinary collaboration where they could share teaching strategies and engage in scholarly discussions with the goal of improving student outcomes, generating ideas that are still in place today. His work with the PLC led to what is now known as CETL, the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning at HCC. The six years of service Jeff provided to the Learning Assessment Committee, a standing committee in Academic Affairs and sponsor and trainer for Tk20 assessment software, confirms his commitment to HCC’s academic excellence and dedication to providing our students with the best possible education. Most recently Jeff was accepted to the highly competitive National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute for Higher Education Faculty, where he focused on “Thresholds of Change: Modernity and Transformation in the Mediterranean, 1400-1700” as he engaged in professional collaboration with faculty from across the country and explored development in scholarship, teaching and curriculum.

Art history wasn’t Jeff’s initial passion – he wanted to be a doctor! Luckily for Harford, he fell in love with his first History of European Architecture class and eventually made teaching his career. Jeff finds his spark teaching students in the classroom – he calls it his “island,” where it’s just his students and him, no distractions; everything else goes away. His focus and his students’ focus is on nothing but the subject he’s presenting. Jeff has also worked with students to propel them to jobs in places like the Baltimore Museum of Art and credits the amazing facilities Harford has and the supportive environment of Joppa Hall in preparing them for their next steps.

Jeff’s presence in our Arts and Humanities division benefits not only our students, staff and faculty, but his talents, expertise and exhaustive contributions will have lasting impact on our campus and community for years to come.