Faculty Census 2018: Data on Design Professionals in Academia

Census data from a survey on the professional experiences of design faculty in U.S. colleges and universities.

The Design Incubation Faculty Census

Aaris Sherin, Dan Wong, Josh Korenblat, Aaron Ganci

The Faculty Census gathers information about trends affecting design faculty. Participants included full and part-time faculty at U.S. colleges and universities. All data contributions are anonymous and used exclusively for research purposes.

The following graphics and charts are based on data gathered in the first faculty census. They were developed to help visualize and evaluate different types and patterns of activities engaged in by faculty and administrators and to investigate conditions of their employment. We aim to reveal factors associated with academia which might be used for individual or institutional decision-making. This includes but is not limited to college and university budget planning, legislative agendas, anticipating shifts in student body makeup, etc. Our ultimate goal is to help faculty to understand the landscape of higher education within their discipline and to use data to proactively plan for and/or to react to shifts in thinking about the role of a design educator within the academy.

The Carnegie Classification®

Many of the graphics developed for the 2018 Faculty Census use the Carnegie Classification® as a system for comparison. The Carnegie Classification® has been the leading framework for recognizing and describing institutional diversity in U.S. higher education for the past four and a half decades. The framework is widely used in the study of higher education, both as a way to represent and control for institutional differences, and also in the design of research studies to ensure adequate representation of sampled institutions, students, or faculty. Looking up your own institution can help you understand which classification applies to you personally and may help inform your understanding of the visualizations from the Faculty Census.

Collaboration

We invite faculty, researchers and interested parties to engage with the data collected as part of the Faculty Census 2018 and to use the information gathered here to support their own work and their engagement with institutions in higher education. We encourage and welcome collaboration and are happy to discuss publishing findings and or additional visualizations using this data. If you have questions or would like more information please contact info@designincubation.com

Thank you to all who gave us meaningful feedback during the development of this survey including Michael Gibson, Amy Fidler, Kelly Murdock-Kitt, Carma Gorman, Alex Girard, AIGA DEC, UCDA.

Thank you to all who generously shared their professional experiences in academia.

Note: Please view on tablet or desktop for optimal visualizations. Tabbed navigation across the top reveals more census results.

Portfolio Success: Strategies for Professional Development

Saturday, September 22, 2018. 2pm–5pm. Type Directors Club, 347 W 36th St., #603, New York, NY 10018

Type Directors ClubJoin industry professionals and design educators for a panel discussion on creating effective design portfolios. We will explore the role portfolios play in a successful design career now and in the future and will ask, are traditional portfolios still relevant? If so, what does a successful portfolio look like and what kind of projects should be included? Panelist will discuss what clients and employers want to see and which abilities industry leaders consider most important? You are invited to join the discussion as we look at new ways of teaching and explore emerging trends in effective portfolio development.

Panelists

Christina Black 
Vice President, Creative Director
Showtime Networks Inc.

Michael McCaughley
Lead Designer at OCD

Holly Tienken
Assistant Professor
Communication Design
Kutztown University of Pennsylvania

Peter Lusch
Assistant Professor
Dept of Art, Architecture & Design
Lehigh University

Moderators

Liz DeLuna 
Associate Professor 
St. John’s University

Janet Esquirol
Assistant Professor 
Borough of Manhattan Community College, CUNY

(Typography credit: Escalator from XYZ.)

The Fellowship Program at Design Incubation

Call for Participation: 3-day academic design research and writing workshop. Application deadline, September 1, 2018

Application deadline: Sept 1, 2018
Fellowship dates: January 10-12, 2019
Location: St. John’s University, Manhattan Campus, 51 Astor Place, New York, NY 10003

Target Audience: Design academics in one or more of the following areas: graphic design, information design, branding, marketing, advertising, typography, web, interaction, film and video, animation, illustration, game design. Full-time tenure track or tenured faculty are given preference but any academic may apply. Applicants who are tenure track or tenured faculty are given first priority but other faculty or independent researchers may apply.

Format: All Fellows accepted into the program participate in the Fellowship Workshop as part of the overall experience. The Fellowship workshops offers participants the opportunity to share and develop ideas for research and individual writing projects while receiving constructive feedback from faculty mentors and peers in their field.

Fellows arrive with a draft of their writing and work on this specific project throughout the various sessions of the Fellowship Workshop. Each meeting includes a number of short informational sessions and a session devoted to analyzing and editing written work. The remainder of the 3-day workshop will be focused on activities which allow participants to share their projects with peers and receive structured feedback. Between sessions, Fellows will have time to execute revisions, review others participants work, and engage in discussions. Initiation of and work on collaborative projects is encouraged.

For more further details visit:
The Fellowship Program at Design Incubation

To apply visit the application details and online form:
Fellowship Program format and online application process

For Frequently Asked Questions visit the FAQ page:
Fellowship Program frequently asked questions

Colloquium 5.1: DePaul University

Design Incubation Colloquium 5.1 (#DI2018oct) will be held at DePaul University, College of Computing and Digital Media on Saturday, October 27, 2018. 10:30AM-5:00PM

Design Incubation Colloquium 5.1 (#DI2018oct) will be held at DePaul University, College of Computing and Digital Media on Saturday, October 27, 2018. 10:30AM-5:00PM

Hosted by Heather Quinn and the School of Design Talks. This event is open to all interested in Communication Design research.

DePaul University
Richard M. and Maggie C. Daley Building
14 E Jackson Blvd.
Chicago, IL 60604
Lower Level Theatre

For details visit the Colloquia Overview and  Online Submission Form. Submission deadline: Saturday, August 25, 2018.

For visiting presenters and attendees, you can find hotel recommendations on the DePaul website here:

https://resources.depaul.edu/demon-discounts/travel/Pages/hotels.aspx

DePaul Colloquium After Party

Attendees and presenters are invited to join Design Incubation and Haddon Avenue Writing Institute for a reception and tour of the facilities from 6-8pm. Drinks and refreshments will be provided. Please rsvp@designincubation.com if you plan to attend.

October 27th, 2018
6-8pm
Haddon Avenue Writing Institute
2009 W. Haddon Ave, Chicago Illinois

Featured Presentation

Storytelling: Balancing the Head, Heart, and Gut
Kelly Bishop
VP, Product & Design

The Onion
Fusion Media Group

Moderators

Liz DeLuna
Associate Professor
St. John’s University

Robin Landa
Distinguished Professor
Michael Graves College

Kean University

DesignEdu.Today
Gary Rozanc will be attending and documenting this event for his series.

Presentations

A Taste of Miami: Mentors, Creative Teams, Award Shows 
John Delacruz
Associate Professor of Advertising
School of Journalism and Mass Communications 
San Jose State University

Creativity in Letting Go of Certainties
Dannell MacIlwraith
Assistant Professor
Kutztown University

Body Type
Samantha Flora
Co-Founder and Designer
JAM Studios and Fat Kid Type Foundry

Material Voice: Communicating with Substrates
Meridyth Espindola
Graduate student
Vermont College of Fine Arts
BFA, University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth

90 Years of The Society of Typographic Arts
Sharon Oiga
Associate Professor
University of Illinois at Chicago

Guy Villa Jr
Assistant Professor
Columbia College Chicago

Design for Decentralized Studio Learning
Lisa Hammershaimb
Associate Dean of Curriculum, Graphic Arts
Independence University

Neuron Focus Support – Eliminating Distraction Through Facilitated Goal-Oriented Task Management
Abhinit Parelkar
Graduate student
College of Computing & Digital Media
DePaul University

Gerard Panganiban

Graduate student
College of Computing & Digital Media
DePaul University

Facilitating Justice Through Design Research
Mariam Asad
Graduate student
Georgia Institute of Technology

Social Homelessness on US Campuses
Yeohyun Ahn
Assistant Professor
Art Department
UW Madison

What Can Machine Learning Contribute to Empathy in Design? How to Build a Journey Map Using Big Data and Text Sentiment Analysis
Sarah Pagliaccio
Principal, User Experience Designer
Black Pepper

Design as Performance
A. Marcel
Graduate student
Vermont College of Fine Arts

How AI is Changing Design
Scott Theisen
Executive Creative Director
Deloitte Digital

A Tool for Understanding: Giving Voice to Diverse, Non-traditional and Low-Income Students Through Teaching Letterpress Printing
Vida Sacic
Associate Professor
Northeastern Illinois University

Evolving Graphic Design from Serving Industry to Fulfilling Fundamental Human Needs
Gareth Fry
Assistant Professor
Utah Valley University

Wearable Workshops
LeAnne Wagner
Professional Lecturer
School of Design
DePaul University

Comfort Toys
Benjamin Evjen
Assistant Professor
Utah Valley University

Featured in Chicago Design Week 2018 (Oct 27 – Nov 3)

Colloquium 4.4: Parsons Integrated Design

Design Incubation Colloquium 4.4 (#DI2018jun) will be held at Parsons Integrated Design on Thursday, June 14, 2018.

Design Incubation Colloquium 4.4 (#DI2018jun) will be held at Parsons Integrated Design on Thursday, June 14, 2018.

Hosted by Cynthia Lawson and the department of Integrated Design. This event is open to all interested in Communication Design research.

Thursday, June 14th
10:30am–1:30pm
The New School
Theresa Lang Student Center
55 W. 13th St., 2nd floor
New York, NY 11011

 

To attend this event, register here. Abstract submission of presentations deadline April 15, 2017.  For details visit the Colloquia Overview and  Online Submission Form. 

Presentations

The Future of Water

Jeannie Joshi
Principal/Director
Joshi Design LLC (joshidesign.com)

Mike Edwards
Founder/Lead Technologist
rich | strange (richstrange.com)

Teaching the Truth About Eric Gill in the Age of #MeToo: A Classroom Case Study

Dave Gottwald
Assistant Professor
University of Idaho

Tactics & Strategies

Mitch Goldstein
Assistant Professor
School of Design
Rochester Institute of Technology

Story-Doing Concepts

Robin Landa
Distinguished Professor
Michael Graves College, Kean University

Visualizing Historical Arguments

Camila Afanador-Llach
Assistant Professor, Graphic Design
Florida Atlantic University

Power in the Dark

Nina Cooke John
Assistant Professor
Parsons, The New School for Design

Thoughtful Social Impact Through Scaffolded Design Methods and Well-Time Fieldwork

Cynthia Lawson
Associate Professor of Integrated Design
Parsons, The New School

Alik Mikaelian
MFA Transdisciplinary Design Candidate
DEED Lab Research Fellow
Parsons, The New School

Devanshi Sihare
Design Strategist

Megan Willy
MFA Transdisciplinary Design Candidate
Parsons, The New School

PERSONALIZE. COMMUNICATE. SOCIALIZE. LISTEN. PREPARE: Teaching Professional Practices for Designers

Holly Tienken
Assistant Professor
Communication Design
Kutztown University

Urban Abstract Design of Modern Architecture in Bauhaus

Min K. Pak
Assistant Professor of Graphic Design
Art & Design
University of Southern Indiana

 

Colloquium 5.3: Merrimack College

Design Incubation Colloquium 5.3 (#DI2019mar) will be held at Merrimack College on Saturday, March 30, 2019, 10:00am-6:00pm.

Design Incubation Colloquium 5.3 (#DI2019mar) will be held at Merrimack College on Saturday, March 30, 2019, 10:00am-6:00pm.

Hosted by Nancy Wynn and the Department of Visual and Performing Arts. This event is open to all interested in Communication Design research.

Crowe Hall
Classroom #107
Merrimack College
315 Turnpike Ave
North Andover, MA

Featured Presentation

Developing Citizen Designers: Our Civic Responsibility
Elizabeth Resnick
Professor Emerita, part-time faculty, Graphic Design
Massachusetts College of Art and Design

Abstract submission of presentations deadline Monday, December 31, 2018. For details visit the Colloquia Overview and Online Submission Form.

Visit back to this page for more details.

Please join us, following the Colloquia, for a reception at 6 p.m. in the Rogers Center for the Arts. Drinks and appetizers will be served.

During the reception, artist Luba Lukova, will give an artist talk on her exhibition Designing Justice, which is located in the McCoy Gallery.

Venue

Crowe Hall Room 107

Directions on how to get to Merrimack College and Campus Map

Parking: Please park in designated areas for the Colloquia. [tbd.]

Where to Stay

Andover Inn 978-775-4902
4 Chapel Ave., Andover, MA

Courtyard by Marriott 978-794-0700
10 Campanelli Drive, Andover, Ma 

Sonesta Suites 978-686-2000
4 Tech Drive, Andover, Ma

All of these hotels have a special Merrimack College Discount. Request the Merrimack Rate when booking.

Coffee Shops and Lunch options on campus

Dunkin’ Donuts

Starbucks

The Warrior’s Den

Zime

Restaurants in Downtown Andover, MA (2 miles away)

Communication Design Faculty Census 2018

We invite faculty, researchers and interested parties to engage with the data collected as part of the Faculty Census 2018 and to use the information gathered here to support their own work and their engagement with institutions in higher education.

Alex Girard and Bruno Ribeiro Join Design Incubation

Design Incubation is excited to announce important additions to our team.

Alex Girard, Assistant Professor of Graphic Design in the Art Department at Southern Connecticut State University, will be the Director of Peer Reviews.

He has had a distinguished career as an design educator and academic administrator, teaching at the University of Minnesota and Community College of Aurora, and Associate Dean of Academic Affairs at the Community College of Aurora.

Girard will direct the peer review process and ensure academic integrity and standards within the organization.

Bruno Ribeiro, Assistant Professor of Graphic Design in Department of Art and Design at California Polytechnic State University will be the Director of Community Outreach for West Coast Initiatives. His research specialization is in interaction and motion design. His background is in visual communication and industrial design, having studied at the Escola Superior de Desenho Industrial – ESDI (Rio de Janeiro), an an MBA in marketing from Fundação Getúlio Vargas – FGV (Rio de Janeiro) and an MFA from Ohio State University.

Ribeiro will be expanding our reach on the west coast, as we continue to expand our support of research in communication design.

Critical Practices as Design Scholarship: Opportunities and Strategies

In this paper, we expand upon our guest presentation from Design Incubation 3.3 at Kent State University on March 11, 2017. This paper is written for faculty, scholars, administrators, and practitioners interested in learning more about critical practices and their connection with design scholarship. We also draw attention to strategizing and evaluating critical practices as design scholarship in the context of tenure and promotion.

View a pdf version of this paper.

Jessica Barness
Associate Professor
Kent State University

Steven McCarthy
Professor
University of Minnesota

Conventional academic scholarship typically involves publishing one’s research findings in journals and books. In the arts, it may pertain to performing or exhibiting creative work. Design straddles these worlds and adds its own cultural norms, such as industry competitions that seek the commercial work of professional practitioners. Design scholarship, whether written or visual, does not always fit these models.

And so, we ask:

How might design faculty approach the production and dissemination of creative work that is neither client-based nor fine art?

Over the past decade, other paths to knowledge formation and scholarly productivity have emerged, and we refer to these as critical practices. Involving a speculative approach to design (experimental, expressive, future-oriented), critical practices combine an authorial point-of-view with research and the tangible aspects of media, technology, materials, and process.

Critical Practices of Design Scholarship

Critical Design

Products (often) that embody a polemical approach to a prevailing social, cultural, technical, or economic condition.

Critical Making

An approach undertaken in order to explain or understand a theory, phenomenon, or technology. Knowledge is formed through process and product.

Design Authorship

Increased agency through confluence of designing, writing, and production. Includes project intitation and entrepreneurship.

Critical Practices are experiential and use design as scholarship: the collective learning, attainments, and knowledge of scholars within one discipline or across many. Merging intellectual inquiry with designed ‘things’ is the key component to forming a scholarly agenda through critical practice. Scholarship is shaped by the institutional frameworks available for legitimizing and sharing that knowledge, such as the peer review process, learned societies, universities and libraries, and books and journals.

Engaging in critical practices requires an enhanced, rigorous approach to scholarship – a strategic integration of making and writing – that moves beyond industry practice and fine arts traditions, and is distinctly relevant to the design discipline. Some design faculty working in these areas have found diverse scholarly venues to share their creative and intellectual work. These dissemination venues often take their cues from other disciplinary cultures like the arts, humanities, science, engineering and business, and may include conference presentations, juried exhibitions, competitions, publication (written or visual essays), media products, live performances, hybrid venues, collections, and commissions. These venues can be an advantage to design scholars as they are already generally recognized and legitimized by academic culture.

The following pages contain past and emerging scholarship models; considerations for strategizing and evaluating scholarship; case studies of scholarly critical practice; and concludes with implications for purposes of tenure and promotion.

Design Scholarship: Traditional Model
Figure 1: Traditional Scholarship Model for Design Faculty. Barness and McCarthy, 2017.

Traditional Scholarship Model: Art Department Context

The traditional scholarship model for design faculty, at least in second half of the twentieth century, was situated within fine arts departments. In this context, the emphasis was on teaching pre-professional courses and designing “things,” either through professional practice (typically client-oriented commercial work) or through creating personally expressive art work. The former found dissemination through industry competitions and trade publications, while the latter was exhibited in galleries and museums.

Emerging Scholarship Model: Design Program Context

In this emerging model, with design often in its own academic department, research informs teaching and is conducted to create new knowledge for the discipline. Critical practices such as critical making, critical design and design authorship are used to inquire about, and respond to, complex social challenges that often lie outside of professional practice concerns.

Design Scholarship: Emerging Model
Figure 2: Emerging Scholarship Model for Design Faculty. Barness and McCarthy, 2017.

Strategizing and Evaluating Design Scholarship

Considerations for evaluating design scholarship in higher education include faculty effort, the scholarly product, the selection process, dissemination venues, scope (local, regional, national, international), and the resulting impact. The design scholarship matrix below provides specifics on considerations such as these. Evaluating design scholarship necessitates an understanding of how these works “fit” into traditional academic contexts.

Design faculty must strategize their work to connect with expectations for tenure and promotion; however, this may pose challenges if tenure and promotion guidelines do not explicitly allow for diverse forms of scholarship. Thus, the faculty member may need to strategize competitive dissemination as well as determine the impact of a project for purposes of tenure and promotion.

The case studies on the following pages are all self-initiated, critical practice projects. For each, authorship, links, and brief descriptions are provided. Additionally, we have included suggestions on the ways this design scholarship matrix may be applied as projects are approached (by faculty) and evaluated (by colleagues, reviewers, and administrators).

Design Scholarship Matrix

(can be applied sequentially from left to right columns, and non-sequentially with different entry points)

Effort1, 2 Product3 Selection process5 Dissemination7, 8, 9 Impact10, 11
Designing, writing, editing, developing, curating, researching, creating, interviewing, applying, prototyping, analyzing, evaluating, consulting, directing, etc. Design4, article, paper, book, chapter, report, invention, presentation, artwork, media work, product, exhibit, grant application, workshop, etc. Peer-reviewed, juried, blind reviewed6, editor reviewed, invited, nominated, crowd-sourced, competitive, self-initiated, commissioned, critical evaluation, etc. Publication, exhibition, conference, collection, presentation, popular, press, symposium, performance, broadcast, marketplace, patent, workshop, etc. Citations, collections, awards, number of viewers/users/visitors, funded, licensing, media attention, legislation, regulation, human welfare, policy, environmental impact, quality of life, commercial success, other evidence
1. Consideration of role if collaborative scholarship

2. Consideration of relationship to core discipline if interdisciplinary or extra-disciplinary

 

3. The product is tangible and/or retrievable

4. Designed work can be: object, image, experience, interaction, performance, service, environment, etc.

5. Consideration of acceptance rate if known

6. “Blind reviewed” refers to anonymity between reviewer and submitter, and can apply to selection criteria beyond journal articles, such as juried exhibits and competitions

 

7. Consideration of reputation or ranking of venue or publication if known

8. If exposed to different audiences, works can be disseminated in multiple venues (i.e. traveling exhibits, different jurors)

9. includes in print and online, and analog and digital formats

10. Consideration of scope (local, regional, national, international) if known

11. Consideration of impact factor

 

 

Figure 3. Design Scholarship Matrix, courtesy of Steven McCarthy.

Critical Making: Design and the Digital Humanities, Visible Language (2015)

Jessica Barness, Amy Papaelias (editors)

Anne Burdick, Donato Ricci, Robin de Mourat, Christophe Leclercq, Bruno Latour, Holly Willis, Tania Allen, Sara Queen, Stephen Boyd Davis, Florian Kräutli, Steve Anderson, Padmini Ray Murray, Chris Hand, Jentery Sayers, Steven McCarthy (authors)

The special issue of Visible Language journal, “Critical Making: Design and the Digital Humanities” (vol. 49, no. 3; double-blind peer reviewed) locates where, how, and why critical making is emerging and the scholarly forms it takes. Nine articles by an international group of authors were organized into two areas that blurred disciplinary boundaries: Theories and Speculations (methods and systems to facilitate research), and Forms and Objects (publishing, prototyping, and hacking practices). The editors approached the issue itself as research in critical making by performing a text analysis and created data visualizations to better understand the language used to communicate the concept of critical making and show structural connections among the articles.

http://visiblelanguagejournal.com/issue/172

EFFORT
• editing
• designing

PRODUCT
• journal issue
• data visualizations

SELECTION PROCESS
• self-initiated
• editor reviewed
• critical evaluations

DISSEMINATION
• publication

Critical Making Zine (2012), Disobedient Electronics (2017)

Garnet Hertz with various contributors

Critical Making Zine and Disobedient Electronics are self-published, handmade book projects that critically examine the ways making can extend conversations on technology, society, and culture. The ten volumes of Critical Making contain works by over 70 contributors from various disciplines, and produced using a photocopy machine and staples. Similarly, the contributors to Disobedient Electronics are also scholars, writing on projects and perspectives surrounding the theme of ‘Protest’. Both works have been exhibited internationally and acquired by permanent collections.

They were also given away for free to project contributors, individuals, and organizations.

http://conceptlab.com/criticalmaking/
http://www.disobedientelectronics.com/

EFFORT
• designing
• curating
• creating
• writing

PRODUCT
• book (handmade editions)

SELECTION PROCESS
• self-initiated
• juried
• peer reviewed
• invited

DISSEMINATION
• exhibitions
• collections
• published articles
• presentations

IMPACT
• citations
• media attention

The Best American Book of the 20th Century (2014)

Image credits: Onomatopee website.

Societé Réaliste
Project Projects (design)
Onomatopee (production)

An investigation into language and collage, The Best American Book of the 20th Century presents the intertextuality of multiple narratives, author-reader dynamics, and shape of language over time. The project was also conceived as an exhibition, as a “‘stockroom-booksale’, resonating the symptoms of mass-distribution as visualized both on a sculptural and a graphic, formalized level” (Onomatopee web site). The book is composed entirely of the first lines from best selling books spanning 1900–1999.

http://www.onomatopee.net/project.php?progID=019f131ccccd023b1808bdb9d7bef9ff

EFFORT
• designing
• writing

PRODUCT
• book (mass produced)

SELECTION PROCESS
• self-initiated
• commissioned

DISSEMINATION
• exhibitions
• marketplace

IMPACT
• media attention
• commercial success
• citations

MediaWorks Pamphlet Series (2002–05)

MIT Press, various authors and designers

The MIT Press MediaWorks Pamphlet Series merges form and function through collaborative pairings of writers and designers. The presence of co-authorship is amplified through the weaving together of design decisions and primary written narrative, resulting in objects that are “zines for grown-ups, commingling word and image, enabling text to thrive in an increasing visual culture” (MIT Press website).

https://mitpress.mit.edu/sites/default/files/titles/content/mediawork/index.html

EFFORT
• designing
• writing

PRODUCT
• book (mass produced)

SELECTION PROCESS
• editor reviewed
• commissioned

DISSEMINATION
• marketplace

IMPACT
• media attention
• commercial success
• citations

The Electric Information Age Book and album (2011–12)

Jeffrey T. Schnapp, Adam Michaels (book)
The Masses (album)
Project Projects (design)

The Electric Information Age Book, and its audio extension, continue the investigation of mass-market publishing and graphic experimentation begun in the late 1960s by Jerome Agel, Quentin Fiore, and Marshall McLuhan with The Medium is the Massage. The LP mixes musical genres with text samples from the book. This project exemplifies collaborative work that explores the edges of media and performance, while also encompassing scholarly thought and creative practice.

http://www.inventorypress.com/product/the-electric-information-age-book-mcluhan-agel-fiore-and-the-experimental-paperback

https://wearethemasses.bandcamp.com/

EFFORT
• designing
• researching
• creating

PRODUCT
• book (mass produced)
• vinyl record

SELECTION PROCESS
• self-initiated
• editor reviewed

DISSEMINATION
• marketplace
• digital distribution (audio tracks)

IMPACT
• media attention
• commercial success
• citations

Best Made / Re Made

Peter Buchanan-Smith (left)
Rebekah Modrak (right)

Re Made Plunger, a project by Rebekah Modrak, is a parody of Best Made Axe, a retail product by Peter Buchanan-Smith. Re Made is “a very pointed, and useful, example of object-as-critique, setting off a very serious line of questioning about the ideologies and biases embedded in designed things.

If a picture is a worth a thousand words, maybe sometimes the right critical object is worth a thousand critical essays”

(http://designobserver.com/feature/object-vs-object/38464).

https://www.bestmadeco.com/shop/blades-axes/axes
http://remadeco.org/

EFFORT
• designing
• researching
• creating

PRODUCT
• website
• product

SELECTION PROCESS
• self-initiated
• peer reviewed
• invited

DISSEMINATION
• published articles
• presentations

IMPACT
• media attention
• citations
• number of views

All Possible Futures (2014)

Image credits: All Possible Futures website.

Jon Sueda (curation)

Curation as critical practice is also a scholarly means to investigate a topic and engage the public. All Possible Futures explores speculative work by contemporary graphic designers. This broad spectrum of work includes self-initiated projects, experimental client work, and other endeavors that respond to a question of “what if?” – and highlights the potential for expanding the conventional boundaries of design practice. Moving design away from its expected context, the exhibition provides opportunity for visitors to interact with designed “things” in a new way.

http://allpossiblefutures.net/

EFFORT
• curating
• researching

PRODUCT
• exhibition

SELECTION PROCESS
• self-initiated
• invited (exhibition venue)

DISSEMINATION
• exhibition

IMPACT
• media attention
• number of visitors
• citations

Curarium (2015)

metaLAB, Harvard University

Curarium is an example of research at the intersection of experimental humanities, data visualization, and design. According to the project webpage, the interface is a “collection of collections, an ‘animated archive,’ designed to serve as a model for crowdsourcing annotation, curation, and augmentation of works within and beyond their respective collections.” Curarium integrates visual and interactive argumentation with storytelling and annotation, and presents a possible means to explore museum collections in a compelling, engaging way.

https://curarium.com/

EFFORT
• designing
• researching
• developing

PRODUCT
• website

SELECTION PROCESS
• self-initiated
• peer reviewed
• invited

DISSEMINATION
• published articles
• presentation

IMPACT
• number of viewers or users
• citations

Casualties of War (2005)

Image credits: Daniel Jasper.

Daniel Jasper

Casualties of War is a series of design projects that sought to visually enumerate and differentiate the growing list of United States military fatalities in the current Iraq War. These are projects that enumerate the total number of fatalities (quantity) yet strive to differentiate among the individual soldiers (quality). For the first time in the history of the United States women are fighting in a war zone as enlisted soldiers and as a result many are dying. The quilt results from a process by which portraits of American women soldiers killed in the Iraq War are repurposed from digital images grabbed from the Faces of the Fallen interactive feature on WashingtonPost.com into large-scale patchwork quilts. The fabric is also repurposed from second hand clothing and upholstered furniture.

EFFORT
• designing
• creating

PRODUCT
• quilt

SELECTION PROCESS
• self-initiated
• peer reviewed
• juried
• invited

DISSEMINATION
• exhibitions
• published articles
• presentation
• collections

IMPACT
• citations
• awards
• collections
• media attention

Emigre Magazine Index (2012), Vision in the Making (2017)

Image credits: Courtesy of the authors.

Jessica Barness

In these two projects, the contents of an archive or collection are translated to new contexts. The Emigre Magazine Index (left) is a digital interface developed as part of a public engagement program at the Goldstein Museum of Design. This online finding tool situates the contents and contributors of all sixty-nine issues in an interactive context, and served as a means to investigate authorship hierarchies and resulting navigational challenges. The close reading of texts outside traditional design literature prompted the development of Vision in the Making (right), a visual essay-manifesto composed of text snippets found within the editor’s introductions to inaugural issues of design periodicals. This textual assemblage preserves original typefaces and presents a glimpse of design publication history through critical, creative analysis.

http://jessicabarness.com/projects/emigre.html
http://jessicabarness.com/projects/vision-in-the-making.html

EFFORT
• designing
• researching
• developing
• prototyping

PRODUCT
• website
• article

SELECTION PROCESS
• self-initiated
• peer reviewed
• invited

DISSEMINATION
• published articles
• presentations

IMPACT
• citations
• number of viewers
• media attention

WYSi-WE (What You See is What Emerged) (2013)

Image credits: Courtesy of the authors.

Jessica Barness

WYSi-WE (What You See is What Emerged) is a series of graphic assemblages created to investigate social intersections and photographic documentation of human nature. Photographs, sourced by keywords related to class, faith, gender, politics and sexuality, are fused together at the level of code bits (a technique known as databending or glitching) to graphically expose the influence of one piece of social identity on another. Understanding the visual work requires viewing the assemblages in published or exhibited form; each work is accompanied by documentation of its text-image parts, and the viewer is invited to read through the compositions in multiple ways.

http://jessicabarness.com/projects/wysiwe.html

EFFORT
• designing
• writing

PRODUCT
• collages
• article

SELECTION PROCESS
• self-initiated
• juried
• peer reviewed
• invited

DISSEMINATION
• published articles
• presentation
• exhibitions

IMPACT
• citations
• number of exhibition visitors

Book Art The Information Electric Age (2015)

Image credits: Courtesy of the authors.

Steven McCarthy

Operating under the theoretical frameworks of ‘remediation’, ‘recontextualization,’ and ‘critical design,’ this project proposes an alternative method to standard book reviews and to notions of publishing. It is a critical book review with a supporting essay that includes an in-depth description of the author’s hybrid digital-analog process. Book Art is a critical remix of The Electric Information Age Book McLuhan/Agel/Fiore (Jeffery Schnapp and Adam Michaels), with cameo appearances by The Medium is the Massage. Book Art uses collage to reconfigure and re-imagine these books as a commentary on mediation, information, expression, communication, and authorship.

http://faculty.design.umn.edu/mccarthy/BookArt.html

EFFORT
• designing
• writing
• creating

PRODUCT
• book (on-demand distribution)

SELECTION PROCESS
• self-initiated
• juried
• peer reviewed
• invited

DISSEMINATION
• published articles
• presentation
• exhibitions
• marketplace

IMPACT
• citations
• awards
• commercial success

Wee Go Library (2016)

Image credits: Courtesy of the authors.

Steven McCarthy

Wee Go Library is a small, mobile display unit for twenty-two altered books. The books were harvested from Little Free Libraries in the Twin Cities (“take a book, leave a book”) as a commentary on neighborhood, community, design, architecture, and of course, books. Custom-built oak and pine cabinets are mounted to a metal hand-truck; drawers are felt-lined; the Wee Go Library sign is laser-cut in oak. Each book is sourced to its donor library with a small pamphlet that has a pin-pointed map and photos of the library structure and sponsoring house. Various re-mixing techniques were used to enliven the books: collage, rebinding, cutting, folding, tearing and gluing.

http://faculty.design.umn.edu/mccarthy/WeeGoLibrary.html

EFFORT
• designing
• writing
• researching
• creating

PRODUCT
• cabinet
• books (altered)
• pamphlets

SELECTION PROCESS
• self-initiated
• juried
• peer reviewed
• invited

DISSEMINATION
• published articles
• presentation
• exhibitions

IMPACT
• citations
• awards
• media attention

Implications for Tenure and Promotion of Design Faculty

In conclusion, we recommend the following be considered by faculty engaging in critical practice as design scholarship. These questions should be addressed in the early stages of projects and research agendas — in connection with an institution’s guidelines for tenure and promotion – to clarify expectations and possibilities.

Academic Culture

  • Is your environment accepting of diverse forms of scholarship?
  • Are senior colleagues supportive?

Tools and Procedures

  • Do your tenure and promotion guidelines “literally” accommodate diverse forms of scholarship?
  • Can ‘novelty’ of critical practices be leveraged into impact, rigor, etc.?

Interdisciplinary and Collaborative Work

  • Can documentation, support, and legitimacy be garnered from other fields (humanities, the arts, sciences, etc.)?
  • Is collaborative work supported, and in what ways?

External Reviewers

  • Are the external reviewers appropriate for evaluating the candidate’s dossier for tenure and/or promotion?

Jessica Barness (MFA University of Minnesota) is an associate professor in the School of Visual Communication Design at Kent State University. Her research resides at the intersection of design, humanistic inquiry, and interactive technologies, investigated through a critical, practice-based approach. She has presented, exhibited, and published her work internationally, and co-edited the special issue of Visible Language journal, Critical Making: Design and the Digital Humanities.

http://jessicabarness.com

Steven McCarthy (MFA Stanford University) is a professor of graphic design at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities campus. His long-standing interest in design authorship, as scholar and practitioner, has led to publications, presentations, exhibits and grant-supported research in a dozen countries. His book on the topic, The Designer As… Author, Producer, Activist, Entrepreneur, Curator and Collaborator: New Models for Communicating was published in 2013 by BIS Publishers, Amsterdam. McCarthy is currently serving a three year term on the board of the Minnesota Center for Book Arts.

http://faculty.design.umn.edu/mccarthy/index.html