Ten Years Later... A Follow up to a Paper on Moving ID to the Engineering College
R. Brent Adams
Brigham Young University
This is a follow up to a paper that was published 10 years ago in the 2001 IDSA Conference on Design Education Journal on whether an industrial design program fits better in a College of Fine Arts or in a College of Engineering. The body of the paper covered the dilemma of whether it was better to align an ID program with the other art and design students and faculty or with the technical prowess of engineering students and faculty. It was apparent that there were positives and negatives in both. Art had always been the core foundation to industrial design, but new technologies were drastically changing how the profession of industrial design was being conducted. Studios were gaining access to prototyping equipment, new manufacturing processes and more robust computing including virtual reality. None of this was typically found in any College of Fine Arts. Capstone projects were increasingly becoming interdisciplinary between ID and engineering rather than with other art or design students. The notion of an industrial designer as just the “form giver” was changing. One of the main forces was to increase collaboration. The decision was made to move to engineering, but to maintain the art side of industrial design by still offering a BFA degree.
This paper is an analysis of what worked and what didn’t, what went as planned and what didn’t go at all. There were many aspects that went as planned, but there were many unexpected issues that arose. Some issues were very difficult to deal with and a few continue to create barriers to work through. A couple of issues may never be resolved and will be a source of difficulty for the foreseeable future. Some of those issues include rank and status, and advancement for faculty. The expectation is very different between these colleges.
This paper will explore many of these issues. What advice could be given to other schools looking at realigning their curriculum? What are the challenges that are now being faced? What advances have been achieved? Is the industrial design program better now than it was 10 years ago? Would it be even better if they had stayed in the College of Fine Arts? Are the students better off? Is the faculty better off? What are the obstacles in obtaining tenure? What impact has having a design discipline in the college made on the other engineering programs?