New BFA in Graphic Design, University of Arkansas
I worked with design colleagues Tom Hapgood and David Chioffi to concept, develop, and implement a new BFA degree in Graphic Design that launched in the Fall of 2016 with ADHE (Arkansas Department of Higher Education) approval. This exhaustive process included numerous administrative tasks, but also gave us the opportunity to design an entire curriculum from the ground up. This was an incredibly exciting collaborative process. We created 13 new courses that focus on typography, interaction design, branding, and design research. In addition to the new degree, we completely overhauled the student learning spaces. We are in the process of transitioning all spaces from dated lab teaching to dedicated studio spaces. Each student has their own workspace and the faculty comes to them. This studio environment creates a rich studio culture that is collaborative, energetic, and competitive. Our first year, we had approximately 20 applicants and the program is receiving excellent publicity and interest is growing rapidly. This spring (2017), our applicant numbers doubled, and we accepted 29 students. We have had overwhelming support from the university campus and regional industry that all acknowledge we are changing the face of design in Northwest Arkansas and the region. The quality of work and thinking coming from the students just after one year in our program is notable and comparable to other top institutions where I have taught. I am incredibly excited to continue working with my colleagues to build a top-tier program.
Collaborative Pedagogy at KCAI
During my time at The Kansas City Art Institute, I had the opportunity to work with one of the most collaborative teams of my career. During this time, we all worked diligently to introduce cross-studio collaborations whenever possible. Cross-studio collaborations were just one facet of the collaborative approach I strove to introduce.
A few highlights:
Typography One + Visual Communication One
Students created a theme that drove work in both studio, working towards the creation of one unified book. Jamie Grey led students in Visual Communications, while I led students in Typography.
Information Architecture + User Experience
Students began researching a sub-culture in their User Experience class, taught by Jamie Gray, and then brought that research into Information Architecture. Students had to use research from a differing student to create an iPhone application. This forced students to test what it was like to use research created by someone else and also allowed students to test if they had culminated research findings in an effective way for a designer to use.
Typography One + Reach Out and Read Organization
I partnered with Reach Out and Read and asked students to create broadsides promoting the literacy organization.
Narrative + Typography Three
Students worked to design books in Typography Three (taught by Michael Kidwell) using Gertrude Stein’s poems as the content. These books were experimental in nature and a good fit to explore in my time-based course, Narrative.
Collaborative student teams in Multimedia Experience
Students worked in teams for the entirety of a semester to research and propose an online learning community. Students worked together to also design the system.
Partner Project with Michigan State University
Students in Narrative at The Kansas City Art Institute partnered with students at Michigan State University to complete a motion design project.