Deborah Valoma's specialized field of teaching at California College of the Arts is the cultural history of textiles as a global aesthetic practice. Drawing on a growing body of scholarship on textiles, she has developed a rigorous series of textile history and theory courses that  provide students intellectual tools to integrate theory and practice. These undergraduate and graduate courses increasingly draw students from other disciplines interested the theoretical discourses in the field of textiles.

Valoma believes that students must locate themselves within historical lineages—not to confine themselves within antiquated boundaries, but to understand the historical terrain they walk (and sometimes trip) through daily. Historical analysis draws a three-dimensional spatial and temporal map, providing much-needed reference points.