Department Mission


The Department of Design prepares students for the professional practice of industrial, interior and visual communication design by implementing a progressive and future-oriented undergraduate and graduate curriculum. The Department is committed to the furtherance of professional standards in cooperation with industry, government, and other societal institutions.

The Department imparts contemporary design knowledge and skills to students by providing an environment for the advancement and exploration of new design knowledge and practices. Within the undergraduate and graduate programs, students learn a process-oriented approach that provides them with a continuous stream of learning experiences that seek to produce optimized solutions that narrow the gap between “the existing” and “the desired.” This learning is conducted in manners that are similar to experiences encountered in current and emerging professional practice within a progressive culture of creativity, collaboration, and inclusion that best serves our desire to attract, support, and retain talented and high-achieving students and faculty.

The Department creates a responsive educational program that acknowledges emerging global design economies and cultures. It does this by recognizing the need for its students and faculty to form and strengthen relationships with other faculty within this and other universities and schools of design. We do this by fostering collaborative research and encouraging international study trips, exchange agreements and study abroad programs. The Department also promotes national and international interaction with professional organizations and societies, industries, governmental agencies and advocacy groups, and involvement with the community-at-large through participation in internships, service-learning projects, and social innovation-oriented research projects and practices.

The faculty and students of the Department of Design are actively engaged in innovative research and creative scholarship and practices that advance the university’s legacy of knowledge production and societal engagement. We do this by working in areas that contribute to the critique and evolution of culture, its institutions and systems, and the quality of human environment and interactions through disciplinary and collaborative cross-disciplinary inquiries.

The Department recognizes that the discipline of design, as well as the standards and expectations that define the discipline are always changing. In this regard, the Department is accordingly committed to improving itself in all aspects of its mission. This property of continuous improvement will drive all areas of curriculum development, recruitment, ongoing reflection and evaluation, and service to entities related to the university and beyond.