Please join us in congratulating Alex Hokkanen on his new part-time faculty position at Western Michigan University!

This fall, Seven Generations Architecture + Engineering Project Coordinator Alex Hokkanen will step into a new part-time role as a faculty member at Western Michigan University. Hokkanen will oversee a capstone interior design studio course for seniors completing the final year of their undergraduate degree in Interior Design.

Starting in September 2020, 18 rising seniors will have Hokkanen as their guide and instructor as they learn about everything from graphic design to applying interdisciplinary design research in the context of their theses. The course is writing intensive, making it the perfect fit for Hokkanen. He believes that design communication, in all its forms, is a critical element of a designer’s education as well as one that is frequently overlooked. Being able to better communicate with a client, colleague, or with anyone who may not have a design background, is an asset. Hokkanen will no doubt strengthen the design communication skills of his students, better preparing them for successful and fulfilling careers after graduation.


WMU interior design

Hokkanen is no stranger to the world of education. Although now a practicing designer and project manager, he taught freshman seminars abroad as an undergraduate student and taught architectural history as a graduate student. More recently, Hokkanen participated in WMU’s Fall and Spring term final critiques for Interior Design students. His feedback and experience proved beneficial to student participants, and as a result he was selected by the current Program Coordinator to take on this part-time teaching position. Teaching is one of his passions, and this new role at WMU is bound to be a way for him to share his knowledge with a future generation of designers.

Education is highly valued at 7GAE. Other 7GAE professionals, including Vice President of Practice Steve VandenBussche, have teaching experience. VandenBussche also taught at WMU, instructing an Introduction to Drawing freshman drafting course for four years, teaching a higher-level construction course, and participating in studio critiques several times over the past decade. Senior Architectural Manager Rick Slone previously taught Introduction to Architectural Drawing at WMU, a course designed for both Interior Design and Construction Management majors. Project Coordinator Sarah Munchow has experience teaching English Composition and Communication courses as well as a discussion section in a Sustainable Systems course focused on the need for sustainability in architecture.

Educating future architects and designers, and preparing them for careers that make a difference in the world, fits harmoniously into our concept of Seven Generation Sustainability. We work to ensure that what we do benefits the seventh generation into the future, and that includes passing along this generation’s knowledge and experience onto the next.