One of a Kind

University of Oregon Kicks off New Sports Product Design Graduate Program

University of Oregon (UO) in Portland, site of the IDSA West District Design Conference 2017has kicked off a new sports product design master’s degree that's touted as the only graduate program of its kind in the United States. Students learn not only sports product design—but also inclusive design, marketing, branding, human performance, innovation, ecology, materials and manufacturing, cost management and more. Major global brands such as Nike, Columbia, Gerber, Logitech and Wilsonart are providing guest reviewers, lecturers and mentors for the program.

Susan Sokolowski, PhD, assistant professor of product design and director of the program, has more than 25 years of performance sporting goods experience, working cross-functionally among footwear, apparel and equipment in creative and strategic roles. She says the program "aims to attract students from various design and engineering backgrounds, as we feel diversity fosters sports product innovation. Industrial designers are traditionally attracted to our program because of their experience sketching, ideating and working in 3D CAD, which are all important skills for a successful sports product designer."

By tackling relevant issues; UO hopes to help prolong athletes’ careers, and generate new materials and technologies to make sports safer and more competitive.