Faculty Spotlight: Jim McFarland

If you remain in any one place for 29 years, you certainly grow roots, become deeply involved in what’s around you, and make lasting community connections. Art + Design Professor Jim McFarland has taught sculpture, ceramics, graphic design, and printmaking classes since joining our faculty in 1990, but 29 years doesn’t seem like a long time to him. He credits his talented and dedicated colleagues, along with the renewed creativity his students bring each new semester, for keeping him at Harford.

As one of the senior faculty members in the Art + Design program and creator of the Fundamentals of 3D Design class, Jim truly loves the nature and opportunity of higher education. Watching over and guiding his students as they develop their creativity, take control of it and use it truly inspires him. He encourages his students to make the 3D studio in Joppa Hall their own, grow their creative process, and then take their work to another level. Occasionally, Jim works right alongside his students on his own art, sharing his knowledge and experiences with them. His philosophy of "a little bit better each semester" remains a cornerstone to his desire to create a modern studio and advanced curriculum that prepares his students for real-world understanding and application. And he truly does make each semester better – whether it’s advocating for new materials for his classes or revising coursework for relevancy to creating a more organized studio space for better workflow. He strives to make each semester, each day, each class better for his students.

Jim has been instrumental in building the collection of public art at HCC – the largest collection of its kind in Harford County. Involved since its inception, he continues to support efforts made by the Gallery and Art on Campus Committee. Jim also chairs the Curriculum Work Group, a group that reviews and approves all new credit curriculum – courses and programs – as well as revisions to the current curriculum, and he serves on the Tenure and Promotion Workgroup. Last year, he stepped in to serve as Interim Dean for the Visual, Performing and Applied Arts division to provide the leadership needed to ease the transition from a long-term, well-beloved dean to the introduction of a newly-restructured department under new leadership – a monumental task indeed. Jim also mentors countless faculty members, sharing his wisdom and expertise to help further develop the high level of our recognized faculty.

Jim continues to build connections to the art world through public art initiatives both on campus and in the community. He chaired the committees that solicited two substantial works at HCC, “Beta Wave,” located in front of the Library, and “Tedder,” in the Joppa Sculpture Garden. He’s currently working with the Havre de Grace Public Art Committee as a mentor. Jim has exhibited his sculpture in Baltimore, Washington, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, among other cities in the mid-Atlantic, as well as throughout Michigan and the Midwest, and has two commissioned sculptures here on the HCC campus.

Although his passion for art is first on his mind, Jim’s love for the world we all share is evident in his service as a member of the Havre de Grace Municipal Tree Commission. The commission works collaboratively with the city’s Department of Public Works to plant and identify trees in Havre de Grace. He also helps organize Arbor Day festivities and has a love for gardening.

As a former community college student himself, Jim McFarland’s insights, experiences and talents truly contribute to the success of our students. The College thanks Jim for his unending measure of professional character and fortitude. He may create wonderful works of art, but to Harford, he is a masterpiece.