Adam Feld, IDSA
In recognition of his years of scholarship and dedicated instruction of students at the undergraduate, graduate, and PhD level, Adam Feld, IDSA, has been granted the 2018 IDSA Young Educator of the Year Award. He was officially recognized at this year’s IDSA International Conference in New Orleans, LA, just down the road from where he teaches at The University of Louisiana at Lafayette as the Assistant Professor of Industrial Design. “Teaching is still what gets me up in the morning,” Feld shares. “I love seeing progress from the beginning of the semester to the end and over multiple semesters. I feel that I am challenged daily by students and am compelled to do the best I can for them.”
Feld, an Ohio native, earned an associate's degree in visual communication from Sinclair Community College in 2007, as well as a bachelor’s degree in industrial design from The Ohio State University. He went on to achieve a master’s in design with a focus in industrial design from the University of Cincinnati, where he taught for the first time as a graduate assistant under Associate Professor Dr. J.A. Chewning and Associate Professor Emeritus Gerald Michaud. Feld then followed the path of design education to central Louisana, where the core of his teaching is currently based in the junior year studios.
Feld’s decision to teach at UL Lafayette was made with the knowledge that he would be working in a challenging pedagogical environment. “To understand the level of achievement that Adam has reached requires an understanding of his context,” says his colleague Benjamin Bush, IDSA, who adds that the recent cuts to Louisana’s collegiate-aided funding has caused tuition to rise dramatically. With more and more UL Lafayette design students winning awards and landing competitive internships each year, it’s clear that Feld is determined to overcome these obstacles. “Adam’s achievements,” Bush adds, “are not a product of his environment, but of his drive, resourcefulness, amiability, and passion to see his students succeed.”
Since the beginning of his career in design education, Feld has been proactive in his creative teaching efforts. Feld, who also served as the IDSA Vice Chair for Louisiana for the past three years, takes every opportunity to expose his students to the world beyond the classroom. He regularly invites programmatic advisors from all around the country to visit his program, connecting his students to industrial design on a national level. He also recently secured funding for UL’s first subsidized studio; sponsored by RedBull, it focuses on providing hard good and soft good artifacts for BMX Flatland bicycles. “My goal,” Feld shares, “is to educate the entire student, starting with the design skill set and ending with independent, critical thought. I strive to create studios where each student receives a professionally competitive skill set, the most personalized attention possible, and the ability to discuss projects in a collaborative environment.”
As the IDSA faculty advisor, Feld regularly advocates for professional engagement at conferences and events, encouraging his students to seek out collaborative relationships with other IDSA members. Believing earnestly that teachers should embody the same traits that they wish to see reflected in their students, Feld organized and executed the Geaux Design Conference in 2017, which was the first IDSA regional conference of its kind. Dr. Adam Cline, Interim Program Coordinator in Industrial Design at UL Lafayette, advises: “Adam introduces a professional rigor that benefits our students as they begin to transition from their roles as students to their roles as professionals… [His students’] professional engagement is…a direct result of Adam’s efforts to advance our program’s goals and provides much-needed direction toward achieving the educational mission of our program.”
On the future, Feld says that he will continue to challenge his students to see themselves not just as design students, but also as men and women who are capable of solving the world’s problems through innovative thinking. “Future industrial designers,” he advises, “must have a mastery of every part of the profession, starting with the user and ending with a product that is market-ready. My primary teaching goal is that my students leave my studios with a greater confidence and skill, ready to begin their next level or study or professional career in industrial design.”