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Evolving a passion into instruction

Instructor Phil Flegel brings his knowledge and passion to the new Digital Design Diploma.

Phil Flegel remembers when he saw his student call herself a digital artist on Twitter after she had taken his classes. “I find it’s thrilling to see students with no skills in Adobe Illustrator and Adobe InDesign, and then become designers,” says the instructor in the Digital Design Diploma.  

Phil has been teaching graphics, media design, and communications for the past 17 years. He has always loved to learn and enjoyed working with people,  which informed his choice to pursue a BA in Education at the University of Saskatchewan. Eventually leaving his home province for Calgary, he landed at SAIT, where he started off teaching courses in business communications.

That’s where his career started to evolve. Phil’s program coordinator was keen to let him explore topics that interested him; he has always had a creative bent, so one of those topics became design. He tried his hand at layout, then designing for publications like newspapers and magazines, and soon enough, he began teaching design courses. “I was extremely grateful for [that opportunity] as it allowed me to match my personal strengths with my career goals,” says Phil.

While working on his master’s degree in Integrated Studies at Athabasca University, his interest in design became a creative outlet.  
After six years as a sessional instructor at Mount Royal University, Phil joined Bow Valley College last May. From the start, he’s been excited at the opportunity to do a lot of teamwork. He’s also getting the chance to put his mark on the Digital Design Diploma, which welcomes its inaugural learners this Fall. One way Phil hopes to do this is by translating his passion for the outdoors into sustainability within design. “I would like to see students get involved in design projects that are related to environmental sustainability. It would be really fun to see how students could solve a design challenge in terms of environmental issues.” 

As the School of Creative Technologies continues to develop this diploma, we could see this type of subject matter incorporated itself into the curriculum. For example, learners may be faced with campaigns around climate change, overgrowing cities, and recycling. 

Is solving design challenges a skill that piques your interest? Get informed on program specifics and career opportunities on our Digital Design Diploma page. 

Is your story waiting to be told? If you’re a learner with an interesting story, we may want to tell it on Email us at

Posted on August 7, 2018 

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