Faculty Spotlight: James Stewart

Professor James Stewart has been teaching at San Bernardino Valley College since 1976, and is still as enthused to work with students now as he was then.

 An art instructor, Stewart calls SBVC's facilities "world class" with "state-of-the-art equipment," and is proud of the education provided to students. "It's the best foundation for other higher division courses," he said. "Classes are low-cost, and students can be here and learn and take advantage of that value. Dollar for dollar, the education is second to none. This is the best deal anywhere."

He teaches students who want to receive their associate's degrees and move on to four-year institutions or specialty schools, as well as adult learners who are interested in taking one or two courses for personal enrichment.

"We are open to all," Stewart said. "We support our community and give them what they want. Many times, people come in and ask how they can take one class, and that leads to another. Once they get on campus, they discover something in one area that's translatable and transferable to other classes."

SBVC is one of just a handful of community colleges in Southern California that offers a comprehensive glass program. Stewart said that when high school students visit campus, they are "blown away" that such unique classes are offered, and excited to know that they can participate once they enroll at SBVC. Some of Stewart's students have gone on to study glass at the finest schools around the world, including in Murano, Italy. They have opened their own studios, or work at places like the Museum of Glass in Tacoma.

"It's neat for me to see students learn here and go on and continue to do this," he said. It takes a long time to learn glass blowing, but well worth it. "Think about how glass affects our culture, from microscopes to fiber optics to the screens on phones and monitors," he said. "It's just an amazing material, and it's a very common material. It's fascinating what it's done for our culture. Imagine a world without glass; I can't."

There has been an art renaissance in the United States over the last 50 years, Stewart said, and it's an exciting time to be part of that world. "Art is essential to existence," he said. "Wherever you go in the world, people are making things."