Jane A. Dorn (above left) is an Associate Professor of Graphic Design in the SC School of the Arts at Anderson University. She holds a BFA in Graphic Design from Louisiana State University and the MA in Graphic Design from the Savannah College of Art and Design.

Prior to teaching, Jane was a successful entrepreneur for over 20 years. Her design work has received numerous industry and professional awards at the regional, national, and international levels including recognition from the CASE, Neenah, Mead, The Bank Marketing Association, Printing Industry of the Carolinas, as well as over 75 American Advertising (formerly ADDY) Awards from the American Advertising Federation. Most recently, her work was featured in Text Me: How We Live in Language, an exhibition at the Museum of Design Atlanta curated by Debbie Millman.

Jane joined the Anderson University faculty in 2009, bringing with her a rich professional career and a desire to challenge and inspire a new generation of graphic designers. Her teaching combines a keen awareness of the creative process and critical thinking. In 2016, she was honored with the university’s highest citation, the Michael Boles Excellence in Teaching Award.

Dave Dryden (above center) is Associate Vice President for Marketing and Brand Strategy at Clemson University. Dave has worked in higher education in creative roles for almost 28 years, first as a designer and now, as the chief marketing and branding officer for Clemson. In his role, he has direct responsibility for the creation, execution and management of a comprehensive branding program that communicates Clemson’s unique differential advantages and its position as a national leader in public higher education across the full spectrum of university stakeholders. He has oversight responsibility for team members responsible for the creation of a full range of content designed to enhance Clemson’s reputation, as well as staff responsible for the university’s admissions marketing strategy and market research.

Val Sloan (above right) received her MFA from the University of Florida in 1999 and has been pursuing a career in design education since 2000. She has taught at her alma mater then moved to Belmont University and most recently as an Associate Professor at Roger Williams University since 2007. She has traveled to design conferences, teaching conferences, education conferences, and coordinated numerous student travel experiences nationally and internationally including Vancouver, BC., London, and Japan. Her travels for research, discovery, writing, and photography have taken her to Egypt on a Fulbright-Hayes project with 10 others, to Spain and Hawaii for professional courses and conferences, and to Japan for her sabbatical and creative pursuits.

The summer of 2018 marks a turning point in Val’s career as she has decided to leave academia and the New England region to pursue a different lifestyle that includes graphic design, photography, pottery, writing, and hosting others at her new artist retreat center and creativity camp in rural mid-south Tennessee near historic Hohenwald. She is also excited to offer her courses in a condensed learning experience in the non-classroom environment in addition to curated travel experiences for the creative soul. Her background in print design and print production, along with her regular critique of work on a regular basis makes her a natural judge. She has officially judged previous competitions for AIGA and UCDA as well as student portfolios over the years.



Karyn Adams (above left) is Principal and Creative Director for H·A ThirtyOne, specializing in creative marketing and communications strategies, content development, and connecting the dots. Currently her focus is in higher education, working with roughly 30 colleges and universities. She has judged design competitions in the past and has spoken at numerous events across the country, including NACAC, SACAC, PACAC, ACT Enrollment Planners Conference, the AMA Symposium on the Marketing of Higher Education, and for Academic Impressions. She also leads the popular Ideastorm events across the Southeast and writes about issues facing higher education.

Before joining H·A ThirtyOne Karyn worked inside the academy as a Director of Communications and an AVP for Marketing and Communications. Prior to her work in higher ed, Karyn served as the Director of Web Development for iPIX, an immersive imaging company, wrote two travel guides with the Travel Channel, and was a food writer and restaurant critic. When not working closely with enrollment leadership and strategic communicators, she’s running, writing, reading, or debating politics with her eldest son.

Dustin Thomas (above center) is a nationally award-winning conceptual thinker. In his 15 years in the industry, he has created incredibly successful and innovative campaigns for national and global brands.

Notable clients include America’s Navy, Ford, Apple, iTunes, Nike, Coca-Cola, Microsoft, Mazda, and Puma/Cobra Golf, among others.

Today, Dustin leads all brand strategy and creative campaign development for Up&Up.

Dr. Troy Abel (above right) received his Ph.D. in Human Computer Interaction and M.F.A. in Graphic Design, both from Iowa State University. He has 25+ years of industry, and 10+ years of academic experience, in Graphic Design, User Experience Design, Usability Testing, Design Education, and Human Computer interaction.

Troy is currently an Assistant Professor of User Experience Design at University of North Texas and is also the director of the new Eye Tracking and Usability Testing lab (ETUT) at UNT (

He has worked with a wide range of industry clients on high-level usability testing and iterative agile-design methodologies. These clients include Citibank, Kaspersky Labs, Belk, ADP, and Bose to name a few. His experience with eye-tracking technology also includes creating new methods to incorporate eye-tracking into traditional usability testing methods.