DANBURY, CONN. — Sabrina Marques’s work as an artist and educator has taken her on many journeys. She has traveled from New York to Connecticut to California to study and teach art. She has been an artist-in-residence in Switzerland and Italy. Her current research has her spending time in Alagoas and the Amazon in Brazil to study the relationships that indigenous tribes have with art and creativity. Her most recent journey is keeping her a little bit closer to home, though, as she has taken on the role as director of the Kathwari Honors Program at Western Connecticut State University.
The program was named after Ethan Allen Chairman and CEO Farooq Kathwari and his wife Farida donated $1 million to the program via the Irfan Kathwari Foundation in 2015. It offers outstanding students a highly interactive and interdisciplinary course of study and is built on the fundamental assumption that knowledge is an open set of questions and ideas to be explored, rather than a closed set of facts to be memorized.
Marques succeeds Dr. Christopher Kukk.
Marques takes over the program at a unique time. With the Covid-19 pandemic still pausing traditional education, Marques and WCSU see this year as an opportunity to assess and develop the program in a way that will grow the student experience moving forward.
As a member of the Honors Council for the past four years and a professor of Honors courses since 2017, Marques is no stranger to the program. She cites her time on the council as being a great source of information and a sort of foundation for how she would like to move forward as director.
“The interdisciplinary nature of the program has lots of value,” Marques said.
She plans to grow the program with that interdisciplinary nature in mind. As is the same with her artwork, Marques aims to create a multidimensional environment that caters to all students.
Marques also will focus on closer collaboration with other departments, committees and organizations. According to Jessica Lin, assistant director of the Kathwari Honors Program, “There seems to be a lot of confusion about the Honors Program on campus, such as the scholarships, enhancements, teaching and research assistantships, as well as the requirements of our program. With fresh eyes and passion, [Marques] has already made efforts to join new committees and talk to departments. Like Dr. Kukk, Professor Marques is extremely passionate about our students.”
Marques’s past positions and projects help her to bring a more artistic approach to the program. After earning her B.A. in Visual Arts from Columbia University, Marques earned an M.F.A. in Painting and Printmaking from Yale. She has taught art at the University of Connecticut, Connecticut College and Whittier College in California before joining WCSU in 2011, where she is an assistant professor of Art. Her own art focuses on narrative, storytelling, memory, cultural commentary and humor.
Through a unique combination of art and academics, Marques’s background affords her a different perspective and a creative approach to problem solving that she hopes to use to further the goals of WCSU’s Kathwari Honors Program.
Western Connecticut State University changes lives by providing all students with a high-quality education that fosters their growth as individuals, scholars, professionals and leaders in a global society. Our vision: To be widely recognized as a premier public university with outstanding teachers and scholars who prepare students to contribute to the world in a meaningful way.