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How to Avoid Achieving Tenure and Promotion in Communication or Interaction Design in American Colleges and Universities

Aug 21, 2012

This sequence of .pdf-based slides supported a presentation that Michael Gibson originally gave at an American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) Design Educators’ conference—"Intent/Content"—in 2007. It has appeared a handful of times since on a few blogs and websites devoted to design education, and appears here as a tongue-in-cheek (but very usable and useful) guide to design educators on tenure track in American colleges and universities. It may prove particularly useful to those tenure and promotion candidates who are attempting to advance based on their achievements as design researchers, design critics, design historians and on their records as design educators.

This piece ALSO appears here as a means to help those who are challenged annually to externally evaluate the progress toward tenure and promotion of various Assistant and Associate Professors in the design disciplines.

The first seven (7) slides provide a contextual framework for the rest of the piece, which may not be relevant for some readers. The real "nitty grit" of this document begins on slide 8.

Finally, please bear in mind while reading this piece that, although the issues it broaches are quite serious, its mode of delivery is intentionally satirical…

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Synergizing positivistic and aesthetic approaches to improve the development of interactive, visual systems design

Apr 05, 2012

This paper stems from a collaboration between members of a transdisciplinary team comprised of university-based researchers in information technology (IT) and visual communication design. Their objective was, and remains, the development of interactive visual systems informed by synergizing their respective paradigmatic approaches. To achieve this, they constructed a theoretical, pluralistic model to catalyze the iterative development of systems that accounted for both positivist and aesthetic user experience-based factors and concerns. They tested their model in a small-scale visual experiment designed to determine if diverse individuals could perceive the design characteristics of a simple, interactive visual system across the paradigmatic schism that exists between IT and design.

UNDER Aesthetics, positivism, user experience design, Design, IXD (interaction design), pluralistic research framework, User-Centered Design

Ethical Education: Transforming a Maximum Into a New Minimum

Feb 01, 2011

Presented at the 2010 AIGA education conference titled “Response_ability: Ethics and Sustainability in Design Education”, this paper points out one ethical divide illuminated by the recent release of the AIGA Living Principles for Design and offers a pedagogic response to the initiative’s attempt to compose a practical framework within which designers can translate good intentions into ethical practice. This essay presents the foundations, learning outcomes and teaching strategies animating a UNT graduate design ethics class, and suggests that this particular application could provide a broader path for others attempting to navigate the gulf separating maximum (altruistic) and minimum (pragmatic) responses to supererogatory design responsibilities.

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The Challenge of (Mis)Measuring Success in Design Research

Feb 01, 2011

This short paper was written as a response to a call for university-level American design educators to engage in scholarly dialogue centered around fostering the growth of design research in higher education settings in the U.S. This dialogue eventually transpired at an American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) design educators’ conference hosted by the College of Design at North Carolina State University in October of 2010. The dialectic that occurred during this half-day, roundtable-style event was open for all conference participants to observe and, at specific intervals, to participate in. As the discussion evolved, several themes emerged that American-based designers engaged in design research will have to confront, especially in light of the fact that  the development of a viable design research culture in the U.S. is currently lagging far behind its development in Europe and Asia. More details regarding these themes are articulated in the PDF (presentation).


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Educating Design Process Educators as a Means to Educate Ethically Minded Designers

Feb 01, 2011

This paper was originally presented at a design education conference titled “Response_ability: Ethics and Sustainability in Design Education” that was facilitated by the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) at Bowling Green State University in May of 2010. The principle argument contends that one of the most crucial objectives in contemporary university-level communication design programs should be to educate design students to become very effective “design process educators.” This doesn’t mean that all of these students need to be educated to become professional design educators—it implies that they need to be confronted with projects that challenge them to teach themselves and a wide variety of people from outside design about how design processes can and do affect real economic, social, political and technological change in given environments. 

It also implies that these students should be immersed in learning situations that challenge them to articulate the “why” of what their design intentions much more than the “how” or even the “what.” It encourages designing that requires empathy-building to function as a primary element of its ethical foundation, and it challenges students to design the processes that guide their decision-making so that they can begin to question answers rather than answer questions.

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Design Responsibility: One Systematic Sampling

Feb 01, 2011

Whenever the topic of design responsibility comes up, few in the profession argue that less is better than more. But on what foundations does this affirmation stand? That is, if it is true that designers hold that they are somehow responsible to others, what reasons can they offer to justify this position? And, are their reasons reasonable? The foundations upon which arguments for design responsibility are diverse and sometimes at odds. In this brief diagrammatic overview, originally presented at the CEPHAD – Center for Philosophy and Design 2010 Conference in Copenhagen, three such foundations and some of their respective consequences are considered.

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Soft innovation: Towards a more complete picture of innovative change

BY Paul Stoneman and Hasan Bakshi

Feb 01, 2011

In this July 2009 National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA)* research report, economist Paul Stoneman of Warwick University and Hasan Bakhshi, research Director at NESTA, "uncover a picture of rapid innovative change of an aesthetic nature – what they term ‘soft innovation’. Current policy, they argue, distorts the economy by supporting innovation of a technological and functional nature, and neglecting innovation of a soft kind." Stoneman and Bakshi argue "for an ‘overhaul’ of innovation policy to recognize soft innovation activities both within and outside the creative industries.

*NESTA is the UK's leading independent expert on innovation. Through a blend of practical programs, investment in early-stage companies and research, NESTAS tests and demonstrate ingenious ways to tackle some of the country's biggest social and economic challenges. The organizaation works with public, private and third sector partners - bringing together powerful combinations of people, resources and bright ideas.

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Fundamental Research Terms Defined

By D. Gupta, C. Ryan & E. Hermosillo
Jan 17, 2011

Downloading this .pdf file will present you with a large, vertically formatted poster which you can print out or simply retain as a reference document on your computer. This piece was completed by Dev Gupta, Chris Ryan and Elvira Hermosillo in response to their third group exercise in Professor Michael Gibson’s ADES 5520/Introduction to Design Research course in the fall semester of 2010. Each group was challenged to write and design a printed or electronically facilitated document that could be utilized to effectively introduce upper-level undergraduate students in design to one or more sets of fundamental research principles and terminologies. All decisions regarding what would comprise the contents of these pieces were up to each group to determine, but had to be based on knowledge and understandings they had gained by engagement in their coursework in ADES 5520 and in their previous life, career and academic experiences.

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On Visual Literacy and Illiteracy

Dec 15, 2010

This paper was originally printed as the Introduction to the conference proceedings of “From Power 2 Empowerment: Critical Literacy in Visual Culture” in June of 2009. This international conference attracted speakers and participants from a broad array of academic disciplines. This gathering provided a dynamic, heterogeneous forum that fostered the critical examination of what it now means to be literate in environments that are continuously being re-shaped by the enormous array of printed, digitized and transmitted images and visual communications systems that contextualize our perceptions of ourselves and our world. Understanding the relationship of literacy to power is central to this challenge. Meeting it will require the creation, thorough examination an amalgamation of new types of knowledge, which will be essential to answering the following question:

How does achieving, demonstrating and maintaining visual literacy subject us to power wielded by those who create, foster, or participate in the exchange of visual culture, media and communication?

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