The AIGA Design Educators Community (AIGA DEC) was established in 2004 to support the unique activities and responsibilities of design educators at the undergraduate and post-graduate levels in a wide variety of institutional settings. The DEC facilitates the biannual AIGA Design Educator Conferences, The Design Educators Research Grant and spearheads various initiatives to support design educators and education. This community is led by a steering committee of eleven full-time educators.

As co-chair of this steering committee, I look forward to advocating for design educators both within the AIGA and the larger culture over the next two years. As AIGA undertakes an arduous restructuring process, the role of design education within the organization cannot be underestimated. Design educators and students make up over half the organizational membership yet often find their needs sidelined by the organization.
Please feel free to contact me with thoughts about how the DEC can best serve design educators.
In the meantime, please mark your calendars for upcoming conferences:
March 14-15, 2014
Connecting Dots: Research, Education, Practice, Cincinnati, OH
University of Cincinnati School of Design
Design educators are challenged with identifying what constitutes appropriate and effective research. They must bring this knowledge to the classroom with the assurance it will serve students well in their practice. Currently, most educators’ methods are replete with intuition and anecdote. How might we reach a position that is academically sound and professionally valuable when put into action?Connecting Dots explores the ideas, ideals, and practices of design educators and professionals as they together investigate research.
On March 14 and 15, 2014, join fellow design faculty, students, and professionals in Cincinnati, Ohio, to hear noted speakers and panels, roundtable discussions and other learning activities. Conference conclusions will be published with proposed research directions for communication design.
Conference Organizing Committee: Oscar Fernández, Chair; Mike Zender, Karen Monzel Hughes, Heekyoung Jung, Renee Seward and Emily Verba (University of Cincinnati School of Design)
September 11–13, 2014
New Ventures: Intersections in Design Education, Portland, OR
Oregon State University
The conference theme of New Ventures: Intersections in Design Education, evolves from the rapid changes occurring within graphic design education in terms of how programs are situated within a college or university and the many ways graphic design programs are intersecting with other disciplines on campuses and in communities. From the creation of new types of graduate programs (DMBA) to the physical creation of design think tanks and venture accelerator programs on campuses, a new landscape of collaboration, intersection and adventure is quickly emerging.
Conference Organizing Committee: Christine Gallagher/Andrea Marks, Co-Chairs (Oregon State University); Stephen Erdmann (AIGA Portland) and John Bowers (School of the Art Institute of Chicago)
Spring 2015
Spaces of Learning: Inside / Outside Graphic Design, Toronto, ON (Canada)
York University
This conference will question the core assumption that graphic design practice forms the basis by which graphic design educators approach visual communication. The tensions between graphic design practice as scholarship and scholarship as graphic design practice will be explored. The conference will be a space to pose pedagogical questions about the core disciplinary strengths of the ‘designer as maker’ in relation to the larger contexts of emerging social, cultural, political, technological and subjective factors. Traditional approaches to graphic design pedagogy are being challenged by the external forces that are shaping a new landscape. In order to ensure that critical practice and scholarship adapts and grows with these changes, as educators we are obligated to respond by developing relevant curriculum. Toronto is, according to the United Nations, the most culturally diverse city in the world. Within this complex social space we wonder what it really means to be ‘inside’ or ‘outside’ graphic design and how graphic design education curricula comes to frame the questions that we can ask in our pedagogical practices.

Conference Organizing Committee: Sandra Gabriele, David Gelb, Robert Gill and Angela Norwood (Department of Design, Faculty of Fine Arts, York University)


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