Student feedback

Student Evaluations Summary 2009-2011

Oil Based Media
Average rating: 4.8
Comment highlights:

I can honestly say that she has been one of the most helpful art teachers I have ever had. Just the few things she would teach us would help me to completely understand the material and make my artwork that much better. I feel like my artwork will never be the same and it has only grown better with her guidance. She has made my view of the world different too. Its interesting how a few helpful hints can really make you focus on details that you would never have noticed before. Thanks Mia!

I thought Mya was a great instructor. She uses non- traditional methods of teaching that employ your senses as well as your thought process. She brought in examples of artists’ work that was helpful. She responded thoughtfully to any questions or problems that we had. The entire class improved dramatically over the course of the semester. I think Mya is a good dynamic to the group of instructors in the GSU art department. All of my classes are conducted very differently which I really enjoy. Mya’s instruction had two dimensions; concrete strategies that are proven to teach a novice how to paint and learning to follow your intuition in art making.

Mia has been one of my most inspiring instructors. I have learned more about oil painting in this class then in any other art class. She was informative, motivational, and moving. I found myself waiting to hear what she had to say because she has a way to speak to her students directly and creatively that helped me see life and painting differently.

Mia was an incredible teacher!! I believe she got the entire class to see things in a different way–and it was definitely for the better! She has such a passion for teaching and the well-being of her students. If given the opportunity, I would certainly take her again! I would recommend her to anyone!!!

Life Drawing
Average rating: 4.7
Comment highlights:

This course is a course that everyone, no matter what career path or major, should take. Professor Merlin encourages growth through process. It is rare to find a teacher who is as patient and fluid as she is. She pushed the class as a whole to develop our visual analysis skills and motivated each individual to express their own unique touch using the tools that were given to us. The class instills an appreciation of the body and an appreciation of how the mind interprets bodily structure when illustrated on a two-dimensional surface.

Mia is a wonderful teacher! I loved her approach to life drawing, it is one that applies to drawing and life. Everyone in the class agreed that they all lookat people differently now after taking her course. She puts a great deal of emphasis on “gesture” and the class was very frustrating to many at first because it is a difficult skill to change how you have always drawn. After some time in the course though, everyone began to get it! It just takes time, practice and most important, patience! I would recommend this class to anyone who is interested in lifedrawing!

This class was, overall, one of the most enjoyable studio classes I’ve ever been enrolled in–not only at GSU, but pertaining to other institutions as well. I found her to be very understanding of peoples artistic habits, and worked very hard to accomodate each student with the tools necessary to achieve the desired goal of the course. She has been very informative and enthusiastic about this class, and I couldn’t have hoped for a better teacher. Mia made it possible for me to see that there is always room for improvement, and the importance of the work involved in reaching a finished product. She has made me think more about my own decisions when executing a piece of artwork, and that in itself is an incredible task, especially when one is stuck in his old ways.

I found Mia’s teaching style to be absolutely incredible because she just has an extraordinary way to bring the very best out of you. Studying the human figure was quite frustrating as they are so many anatomical and physiological components that one would have to contend with so as to have an accurate rendering–and although these things are essential–Mia stresses that for one to truly master how to draw the figure one must first capture the emotional and psychological gesture of human form. This is hard to do because one cannot just record the anatomical and biological facts of body but one would have to feel and visually listen to the heart and rhythm of figure. This approach was really liberating for me because I finally understood that I had to re-think how I survey and extrapolate the human figure. I learned how to consciously look at things and at people–not projecting an idea of what I saw but really looking and understanding the psychic curves and the psychological and muscular drapings of the body. I learned that if I understood this that every line whether it has a weighted or timorous
gesture would suggest an understanding of form.

Wonderful teacher! I enjoyed her class so much! She has a different style of teaching her students how to draw, but it is worth it in the end. I learned how to draw a human figure in her class. She was very involved with her students and helping us if we needed any help with anything. During class, she had one on one time with us to see how our drawing was going and would give us pointers. I liked the fact that she showed that she cared about her students. She wanted us to be the best that we could be. I have never had a teacher like that before that was so involved. She helped me become a better drawer and appreciate the art of drawing. I learned skills like learning to be patient. She inspired me in so many ways and I will not forget her as a teacher. I will take the skills she taught me in life drawing and apply them to my other art classes. Mia is awesome!!!!!

Mia was the best drawing instructor I have ever had. I have never met a more patient and methodical professor ever. My drawing skills have improved tremendously since my first class with her. Taking a drawing class last semester, I was in the bottom of my class, and taking Mia’s class I quickly rose to the top in her class. Her teaching style is impeccable. GREAT TEACHER!!!

Water Based Media
Average rating: 4.8
Comment highlights:

MIA IS AMAZING. She knows painting and I know this because she taught me in a very short time more than I’d ever known or realized about painting. She’s is cool, calm, and collected, it really becomes meditative in her classroom environment. She answers questions well, addresses people respectfully when approaching their artwork, and that can be a very sensitive thing to do, but Mia does it flawlessly and never crosses hurtful boundaries.

I loved this class! mia created a great environment to create and explore in. she was kind in giving critiscism and open to our ideas on how to go about creating art for ourselves not just her idea of what watercolor should be-very refreshing! i loved that each day we had somethign new to try and figure out but were eventually allowed to pick the techniques that worked best for us to further develop. for someone to struggles with 2d mediums i think i’ve found something i can really use in the future

Fantastic, one of the best college teachers I’ve ever had. Knows whats she’s talking about and knows how to explain it to others clearly. She helped me improve greatly!

Drawing I
Average rating: 4.5
Comment highlights:

Very inspiring!!!! Thank you for a great semester. Drawing can be difficult and frustrating to learn. I feel that Mia did a great job of explaining things to us through her words and demonstrations. She is kind, and I feel like she really tries to understand her students and their needs, which is really important. Mia is a GREAT asset to our art program.

Mia was an inspiring and wonderful teacher. I went in with only the expectations of completing course hours and she not only taught me to draw, but inspired me to become a more contemplative person, which I treasure greatly.

This was the best art class that I have had, and I absolutely would take her again. The instructions that she gave were clear and interesting. I feel like I came out of that Merlin’s class knowing an incredible amount of tools to use in drawing.

I love Mia! I’m a photo major and totally closed my mind to drawing. I thought it wasn’t for me and I could never do it. I was so surprised a what I was capable of. She pushed me in all the right ways, and I never felt uncomfortable.

Merlin was an amazing teacher and an incredible instructor. I had drawn prior to this and she gave me a whole new perspective and ideas on the way to take on a drawing and approach my subject matter differently. She really stuck with us through the whole semester and was there to watch us grow as we watched ourselves progress in learning different ways to approach the art.

I have absolutely nothing negative to say about this class and this teacher. Mia is absolutely wonderful. It’s a shame she’s leaving Georgia State after this semester. She is by far going to be one of the best teachers, if not the best art teacher I will ever have in my school career. She explained everything so perfectly and gave demonstrations of what we were drawing at the beginning of every class. She was very helpful if you were stuck or needed help or another opinion. If she were staying I would literally want to take her class again. Wonderful teacher, wonderful class.

I was terrified to take this class believing that I had no aptitude for drawing. Ms. Merlin was encouraging and set goals that were realistic. During class time, as well as critique time, Ms. Merlin gave excellent suggestions, constructive criticism and encouragement. Most importantly, she was honest in a firm yet gentle way. The course was structured so that we built upon each technique she taught us which enabled me to view drawing in an entirely new manner. I have actually learned to draw and enjoy it due to her excellent instruction, the challenges set forth, and the well thought out class structure. Due to her style of teaching I specifically chose the 2D class that she was teaching – I really look forward to it!

Directed study
Average rating 4.6
Comment highlights:

Ms. Merlin was one of the most, if not most, inspiring instructors I’ve had at GSU. Her comments were well thought out, constructive, and personal. She was an enormous part of my learning experience and pushed me to a level I’ve never reached in my own work before.

Mia’s calm and collected demeanor made you feel comfortable in class, like the class was a partnership, while still understanding she was your superior. She was responsive to things going on around her and made changes necessary to accommodate them, which is exactly what should be done in such an organic class as Art. She continually stayed involved every step of the way throughout the semester. No matter what was going on, she always put 100% into critique and always tried to do her best. On top of all that, you really felt like you were getting a special opportunity to be taught by someone who has such incredible skill and who is an amazing artist.