Lesley Shipley loves painting and drawing, but has an equal passion for researching art history and female artists. As Randolph’s newest art history professor, she plans to celebrate the accomplishments of some of the often-underrepresented female artists with her students.
For her first semester at Randolph this fall, Shipley is teaching 19th Century European Art, American Art and Architecture, and Art History Senior Seminar. She previously lived in the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania area, and was a visiting professor at Kutztown University of Pennsylvania. She also has taught art courses at Bryn Mawr College and Moore College of Art and Design. She received her B.A. in art history from the University of Maryland, College Park, her M.F.A. in painting from American University, and her Ph.D. in art history from Bryn Mawr College.
Shipley was drawn to Randolph partly because of the Honor Code, its vast art collection, and the Maier Museum of Art at Randolph College.
“You get a nice, small community at a liberal arts college, and you also have this really fabulous, world-class museum that has a variety of contemporary art,” she said. “Also, I was really struck by my colleagues and the rest of the College community here. They’ve been incredibly warm and welcoming, and made me feel like I’m part of the team in the department right away.”
Rather than lecturing in front of a class, Shipley follows a “listening pedagogy” teaching philosophy, meaning that students lead the discussions, and often the classes themselves.
“I’m really impressed with how engaged everyone is,” she said. “They’re really interested in the material we’re talking about, and people are participating and really seem to be interested and excited to be there.”
In her spare time, Shipley continues to enjoy painting and drawing, often with her 5-year-old daughter, Caroline, and her husband, Dan, who is also a painter. She enjoys running on the Blackwater Creek Trail and through Downtown Lynchburg, where she admires the architecture of the historic buildings.