IDSA Member to Lead New Product Design Program at MICA

Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) in Baltimore will launch a new bachelor of fine arts degree in product design in fall 2017, to be chaired by IDSA Member Leslie Speer, a former recipient of IDSA’s Education Award. “The future of design is less about importance of the corporation, and more about the power an individual can have in the connected world we live in,” says Speer. “Designers will be the creators and the manufacturers, but supported with tomorrow’s technologies for sourcing, production and distribution.”

She adds that MICA is set to be the leader in this development of the designer as innovator, collaborator, maker, manufacturer and distributor.

“The goal of this forward-looking and holistically conceived program is to educate a new breed of product designers,” says MICA President Samuel Hoi.

Speer previously taught industrial design at San José State University and served as assistant chair of the ID program at California College of the Arts. She also brings years of experience as a commercial designer for DuPont, Philips, Oracle/Sun Microsystems and frog, among others. She earned a BSID from California State University at Long Beach and a master’s in product design, innovation and management (MDES) from Middlesex University in the United Kingdom.

Building on the success of MICA alumni currently working as product designers at Under Armour, Hasbro, Matter.io and BamBam Prosthetics, Speer aims to build the program around interdisciplinary and sustainable thinking, with a teaching philosophy that emphasizes entrepreneurial intelligence and the concept of the social good. Teaching product design as more than just an artistic practice, Speer hopes to show that design can be a meaningful tool for social change and strengthening communities.

The new program will be housed in MICA’s new Dolphin Design Center, a state-of-the-art learning hub and interdisciplinary space that will include research and prototype labs, 3D printing and fabrication facilities and other technology-rich spaces. It’s scheduled to open in fall 2017 and also will be home to the game design, interactive arts and architectural design BFA programs.

Founded in 1826, MICA is the oldest, continuously degree-granting college of art and design in the United States. The College enrolls nearly 3,500 undergraduate, graduate and continuing studies students from 49 states and 65 countries in fine arts, design, electronic media, art education, liberal arts and professional studies degree and non-credit programs.