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Design Education (Vol30 No1)

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Design Education


The goal of this issue is to learn more about what is going on in design education of all types and at all levels. Design as a profession is and has been in the midst of tremendous change.

Twenty years ago, designers were longing to learn the language of business. They were pushing for more business education for themselves, so they could get “a seat at the table.” Now, we are seeing a desire on the part of business and engineering programs to include design education under the umbrella of “design thinking.”

University design education, with a few exceptions, is struggling to keep pace with the change around them. Are they underfunded? Or are they not close enough to the business and technical community to be able to continuously update educational programs to keep pace with change?

Design education is asking, Where do we go? How do you train designer students in four or five years for a world that will likely be drastically different from the one they began with?

There has been a dramatic increase in some parts of the world in masters and doctorate design programs. Should more investment be made into these programs? Does it matter where these programs are housed? In design departments? In business departments? Shared?

On the bright side, graduating design students today have many more career options available to them than they once had. They can get traditional jobs that allow them to practice their craft; but they can also work in design operations, strategy, or entrepreneurship. They can aspire to management. Even progressive elementary and secondary education programs are expanding what they teach, adopting design thinking, empathy, and social design, as exemplified by Rochester, NY’s Harley School.

Should design schools maintain themselves as separate functions? Will they be dwarfed by other disciplines? We need to prototype and continuously iterate the design education experience—just as we have been taught as designers.


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Issue Information

President's Letter
Carole Bilson, President, DMI

Design, Didacticism, and the Dignity of People
Nico Macdonald, Business & Innovation Teacher, Ravensbourne University
London, and Visiting Fellow and Tutor at London South Bank University’s School of Arts and Creative Industries


The Rise of Design Dyslexia and How to Overcome It
JiaYing Chew, Design Strategist + Education Designer; Miikka J. Lehtonen, Visiting Assistant Professor, Aalto University; and Katharina S. Schilli, PhD Student, University of Turku


On the Playground: Enabling Creativity and Risk Taking; What Would Nature Do? Biomimicry and Problem-Solving
Beth Bailey, Marketing and Communications Director, Harley School; Terry Fonda Smith, Head, Harley Lower School; Jeff Lindstrom, Creative Director, Bienenstock Natural Playgrounds; and Betsy Vinton, Science Department Co-Chair and Upper School Mathematics and Science Teacher, Harley School

Observations on the State of Design Education: Past, Present, Future
Craig Vogel, Associate Dean for the University of Cincinnati’s College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning (DAAP) and Executive Director of the University of Cincinnati’s Digital Media Collaborative; Xi (Cecilia) Wang, Postdoctoral Scholar at the University of Cincinnati School of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning (DAAP)


The Future of Design Education
Lorraine Justice, Dean Emerita, College of Immaging Arts and Sciences, Rochester Institute of Technology

Strategic Design or Design Strategy? Effectively Positioning Designers as Strategists
Travis J. Brown, Senior Executive Assistant Dean, Indiana University’s School of Informatics, Computing & Engineering

Client-based project work as experiential education
Jessica Jacobs, Assistant Professor, Business & Entrepreneurship Department, at Columbia College, Chicago

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