seen + learned

Redesigning Northeastern University's College of Professional Studies B.S. in Graphic Design Degree

Posted: Tuesday, May 13, 2014 | Posted by Tania Schlatter | Labels: , , ,

Founded to advance the careers of working students, Northeastern University's College of Professional Studies (CPS) grants doctoral, master's and undergraduate degrees. I've enjoyed teaching Interactive Information Design 2 and advising CPS graduate digital media students for the past few years.

I love systems and design, and am anxious to help higher ed better prepare students for the complex design work that we do today. I was excited to be asked to participate in a review of CPS' BS in Graphic Design degree last summer, followed by a redesign effort in the fall. The review was required for accreditation purposes, and the redesign was long overdue.

While the accreditation process was written in academic language, much of the work involved what I think of as design thinking. I (re)defined a clear mission for the program based on graphic design skills that are needed today, outlined desired outcomes for students and a system for measuring results, reviewed current courses in a structured way for strengths and weaknesses against goals, and analyzed student performance data over time to understand trends and gaps. Once the required accreditation materials were complete, it was great to take all I had learned and defined and work on redesigning the degree program overall.

The result of the effort is a roadmap for a revised BS in Graphic Design degree program. There are six new courses and six revised courses, which will begin to be phased in this fall. The new program maintains its practical focus and provides a stronger foundation in the traditional "roots" of graphic design, such as typography. When in place, courses and course projects will help prepare students by beginning in black and white and two-dimensional design principles, and carry through to using visual design principles to help people understand, enjoy and use visual information in static and interactive applications.


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