Masami Toku—Outstanding Art Teacher

"Collaboration is one of my teaching and learning approaches in working with my students and colleagues."

Professor Masami Toku brought an international perspective to the art education curriculum when she came to CSU, Chico in 1999. She teaches courses in art education and multicultural perspectives of art appreciation. Toku introduces her students to Manga (graphic novels), a world-famous Japanese comic style. Her students learn how to include this international art style in K-12 arts curricula.

A major international exhibition of original Shojo Manga (girl’s comics) under her direction began its tour in Chico in 2005 and traveled to nine sites in North America and fours sites in Japan. Toku’s students assisted with the exhibition and are credited in the exhibition catalogue.

Serving as the coordinator and the advisor of Art Education program since 2003, Professor Toku also plays an active role as a member of the conference Board of Directors for the International Society for Education through the Arts. In 2007 and 2008, Toku brought 25 teachers from Japan to learn about education systems at CSU, Chico and K-12 schools in the community.

One of her local projects is an annual cultural event, Far East Fusion, in collaboration with the art, food science, and Japanese departments. As an art exhibition director of United States Society for Education through Art (USSEA), she also started a collaborative international touring exhibition of children’s artworks in the manga style. Due to her many international contributions, Toku received the 2008 USSEA International Ziegfeld Award.

Professor Toku connects with her students through her passion and her expertise in Japanese art. Her students praise her knowledge, her organization, and her attitude in the classroom. She comes to class prepared and with a great sense of humor. She keeps her classes interesting and informative. 

Toku says of her work, "Collaboration is one of my teaching and learning approaches in working with my students and colleagues. I believe in a Japanese saying, ‘Three according to Monju wisdom’ (roughly, ‘two heads are better than one’).”

For all of her accomplishments, the Faculty Recognition and Support Committee selected Professor Toku for the 2010–2011 Outstanding Teacher Award.

Of this award, Toku says, “Thank you so much to my colleagues, friends, mentors, and students who supported me for the great honor of Outstanding Teacher Award in 2010-2011. Without your help, I would not have been able to work on the many projects that I have done in Chico over the last decade. I truly appreciate it (^_^)!”

Masami Toku