Preface | Papers Index
Early in 2003, the newly elected IDSA Education Council quickly established a mission statement focusing on continued improvements of service to the industrial design educators. One step toward this objective was to increase the perceived value of the conference "Proceedings" that feature our educator members' research and other scholarly activities. This required several procedural changes while preparing for the National Education Conference and during the publication of the conference "Proceedings".
Of the 90 submitted abstracts, the Council selected about one third that would be presented at the conference. The same articles would be later published in "Proceedings." An early decision to edit the "Proceedings" helped elevate the format unity and perceived quality of the publication. The Council agreed that such a change could improve its usefulness to educators who find this IDSA document to be a principle venue for presenting scholarly activities for peer review.
A more refereed "Proceedings" would also better serve as a tool for the purpose of evaluating faculty work during promotion and tenure review. A secondary benefit expected from this change was that the market value and potential profitability of "Proceedings" might be increased. Unfortunately, this also meant that added cost could be incurred while preparing for print.
After careful comparison of available options, Cullin Communication, an experienced design editing service, was recruited to edit the submissions. The enrollment success of the conference, careful shopping for editorial and graphic design service and the volunteering spirit of the Education Council all conspired to keep the cost of this year’s "Proceedings" within budget. We hope our constituents find the resulting publication to be moving in a positive and even more useful direction.
A second value-added feature from this year’s conference was the "Teaching Methods Forum." This integrated component spanned the duration of the conference with advice and examples from hand picked presenters who addressed issues facing today’s design educators.
Among the most critical issues facing college and university educators, unlike their K-12 education counterparts, is that most designers enter into teaching without any prior methods training. This means that required college courses taken to prepare elementary through high school educators (educational psychology, tests and measurements, student directed teaching, etc.) are typically not part of the experiences offered by most undergraduate or graduate industrial design programs.
Neither specialized design-teaching methods nor generic instruction techniques are presented outside specific education programs that are only designated for training primary through secondary educators. Studio design educators with up to an MFA degree receive little if any methods training before they enter the college or university classroom to teach young design students.
The NEC responded to this need with a "Teaching Methods Forum" that allowed attendees to experience the methodologies and philosophical convictions of several of our country's most effective design educators who each delivered a thirty-minute lecture. The rhythm created by adding the come-together synergy of the methods lectures promoted program unity while retaining some opportunities to pick and choose topics during the traditional break-out sessions.
The "Teaching Methods Forum" also included a pertinent presentation on the "Pitfalls of Academic Promotion and Tenur" presented by Lorraine Justice. The entire "Forum" concluded with a lively interactive audience/panel discussion on the more controversial aspects of design education.
Paul Down, IDSA, National Education Council VP