Unbridled Enthusiasm Gives Assistant Professor of Art the Winning Edge

Assistant Professor of Art Cheryl Knowles-Harrigan loves teaching and is committed to her own ongoing education. These are among the many reasons she received the Lindback Distinguished Teaching Excellence Award at the college’s May 2011 commencement.

2011 Atlantic Cape Community College Commencement


  • Bachelor of Fine Arts in Illustration, Philadelphia College of Art, 1982
  • Certificate in Painting with a minor in Printmaking, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, 1985
  • Master of Arts in Instructional Technology, The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, 2000

“I really work on my teaching,” said the Milmay resident. “I’m an artist, and I bring a love of what I do to the classroom. I instill in my students a love of art.”

An Experienced Professor

Knowles-Harrigan joined Atlantic Cape as an Adjunct Faculty Instructor in 1992. She was the first Coordinator for the college’s art gallery in 1995, was promoted to Senior Adjunct in 1996, then to Assistant Professor of Art in 2002. Knowles-Harrigan also has served as a Student Mentor, an Instructional Technology Specialist and a Chairperson for the Arts & Humanities Department at Atlantic Cape.

In fall 2009, Knowles-Harrigan was accepted into the prestigious Mid-Career Fellowship Program at Princeton University, where she studied visual arts and art history. “It was very flattering,” she said. “It changed my life.”

She could conceivably have moved on to teaching at larger higher learning institutions, but she believes she has been able to make a bigger difference by working at the community college level, where she has been able to engage in a more personalized approach to teaching.

A Passion for Teaching

“I find that it’s really important to work with student artists early in their development, so that they have a good knowledge base when they move on to four-year schools,” she said. “Teaching them good writing and research skills is also very critical. We have students of all skill levels. I do like the challenge of teaching non-majors and students who are new to the visual arts.”

Knowles-Harrigan is gratified to know she has had a long-term, positive affect on her students.

“It’s nice to bump into them 15 years later and have them tell me that they still remember things they learned in my class, and that the experiences in my classroom gave them confidence in what they can now do,” she said.

Her students find her enthusiasm infectious.

“When you go into a classroom, you need to show that you’re excited about what you do, so that they become excited,” she said. “You have to keep the experience fresh and exciting, always.”