About De Anza

Academic Services

Meet Bill Nagel, a Distinguished Educator

Bill Nagel Bill Nagel is one of those professors who could act very proud of his years of experience, but always approaches students with a simple and positive attitude.

"My assumption is that students take graphic design classes because they have experienced some level of enjoyment or success with art, the computer, the creative process, problem solving or any type of visual communication," Nagel says. "I try to teach the fundamentals of graphic design in a context that respects this enjoyment and builds their confidence." Nagel believes that student mistakes and errors are not so much "wrong" as they are opportunities to learn how to be better designers. "I choose to enjoy myself in the classroom and I feel this helps create a non-threatening environment for the students."

Friends would often tell Nagel that they thought he would be a good instructor. "I wanted to focus on my career so I didn't try teaching until the early 1980s and found that I really enjoyed it. Even then I still wanted my energies focused on my business but I thought that eventually I would try it again to see if I still enjoyed it," says Nagel.

Since graduating with a B.A. in graphic design from San Jose State in 1969, Nagel has worked for a local educational publisher, run his own studio and taught part time at the Academy of Art in San Francisco and also at Foothill College.

"My time with the students is clearly the most enjoyable part of teaching," says Nagel. "The students are generally smart, talented, courteous, energetic, fun and very dedicated to learning. It is always a pleasure to be in their company."

Nagel appreciates De Anza's student diversity. "It is such a joy to experience people from all over the world with different backgrounds and cultures. I'm very impressed with the international student's ability to learn the nuances of the communication arts while in a foreign country."
Nagel says community college students have more focus, motivation and a "hunger" for education than students he's known at the more expensive art schools. "De Anza's size gives the campus an energy that I haven't experienced at other community colleges. I feel very fortunate to be at this very unique campus," he says.

"He is a great teacher and a great person," says former Interim Vice President of Instruction John Swensson of Nagel. "He has his students doing projects for non-profits like Hospice each quarter, in the spirit of involved community service."

Nagel has volunteered countless hours of his time for tenure committees and as adviser for clubs such as the fledgling art club on campus. His rapport with his students was demonstrated in part by a few student letters, covered with numerous student signatures, requesting recognition for his contributions. "We are pleased to accept his students' recommendation," adds Swensson, "and to honor him with this award."

"I'm very pleased and proud to receive the award," Nagel says, "and a bit guilty because I'm having so much fun."

Office of Instruction
Building: ADM 128

Contact: Olga Evert
Phone: 408.864.8940


Last Updated: 10/23/08