Letter from the Chair

Mary Anne Beecher, Ph.D.

Welcome to the Department of Design at the Ohio State University!

"The Cultured Mind/The Skillful Hand…"

These are the words that were carved some 120 years ago into the lintel that tops the grand double doors that lead into Hayes Hall, the current home of the Department of Design at The Ohio State University. Our building, located on the North Oval, is the oldest standing and one of the most picturesque buildings on the OSU campus. Its illustrious history includes service as the home of the Military Department (including a large target range once found on the second floor) and as the site of Fine Art drawing instructor Hoyt Sherman's famous "Flash Lab," where students were taught to draw using a process that included the playing of music and the projection of images to be drawn for one tenth of a second in an otherwise darkened room. Using this process, Sherman believed that students could learn to "see as a whole" rather than just focusing on the parts or details of their subjects. Interestingly, Hayes Hall also contained a "Design Class Room" at the time of its construction in 1893 even though a separate Department of Design didn't come into existence at OSU until 1968.

The department today is a thriving group of design researchers, scholars, and teachers with an energetic group of talented undergraduate and graduate students at our center. Our students study design in a unique collaborative setting that includes industrial design, interior design and visual communication design. With a human-centered approach and a focus on integrating research with a full range of design practices, we support and develop future designers who cultivate and celebrate the interactive nature of twenty-first century environments, objects, systems, and experiences. And like a premonition, the nineteenth century traditions of Hayes Hall—the discipline of its dedicated soldiers/students; the innovative educational exploration of pioneers like Hoyt Sherman; and the values embedded in our entrance motto (even though the skillful hand is now as apt to hold a stylus or mouse as it is to hold a pen or a plane)—are alive and thriving in our students and our programs. If you are interested in designing the realm in which people experience both physical and virtual environments, we encourage you to pay us a visit!

I continue to be impressed by the dedication of our faculty and the curiosity and talent of our students, as well as with the innovation of our collaborative curricula at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. And I always enjoy meeting alumni who I hope will become an important part of our fiftieth birthday celebration in 2018. If you are in Columbus, I would love to meet you and if you are away, we would still love to collect stories about how your design education at the Ohio State University has made a difference to you. The Design Department is always only a phone call or an email away… come see us!

All the best,

Dr. Mary Anne Beecher, Professor and Chair

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