Randall Bartlett

Randall Bartlett, IDSA
Auburn University

Randall Bartlett, a 1980 graduate of Auburn University, began his industrial design career with Syntex Dental Products in Bay Minette, AL. After a successful career in dental equipment design, he transitioned to designing home exercise equipment for Diversified Products in Opelika, AL. From this experience, he designed commercial light fixtures for Cooper Lighting in Vicksburg, MS. During these diverse corporate experiences, Bartlett received over 20 U.S. patents.

Bartlett is active in the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA) on a national level. As a member of IDSA, he collaborated with RitaSue Siegel Resources, a premier placement agency for designers, for more than 10 years, delivering a workshop for professionals and students that offered advice and solutions to improve the impact of their portfolios. In 2010 and 2011, Bartlett was selected as one of the top 25 Most Admired Educators in the United States by the Design Intelligence Survey of Design Programs.

As a professor at Auburn, Bartlett’s research and teaching interests include introducing students to their first comprehensive re-design of an existing product, using a systematic approach to user research, product development, and product marketing. Bartlett also manages the Collaborative Studio Abroad program, a 10-week international course. The students collaborate with schools in Ireland, Northern Ireland, Italy, Scotland, and England on short-term design exercises.

Now, Bartlett is charged with launching and establishing the futures studio in Mobile, AL. The futures studio is an opportunity for third-year design students to live in Mobile and study design for a semester. This educational experience is tagged as “study beyond.” In the first year of the program, students have worked with the following industries and companies in the Gulf Coast area: Carnival Cruise Line, City of Mobile, Nanny Connie – Just Be The Parent, Lamar Advertising, and the Brent Hotel Group in Pensacola, FL.

Bartlett’s approach to mixing design education and industry collaboration provides his students with a unique educational experience that increases their marketability. For Bartlett, it also keeps him in the trenches of design research and development, two areas in which he thrives.

Statement of Candidacy for Education Director

There is no question that design and design education are evolving rapidly with the advent of more complex technologies, the use of social media and the current economy. As a senior design educator and an experienced designer, I find myself both captivated and challenged by the changing ways we deliver design education, and the manner in which we secure design business now and in the future.  

As the IDSA Education Director, it is my goal to ensure that the business of design remains strong by advocating for the importance of design education to our society, delving further into programs and methods that offer opportunities for design professionals and educators to work together, and striving to ensure that design education stays relevant for graduates, who will become the next-generation leaders of design.

Knowing IDSA’s commitment to design education—being one of the four central pillars of IDSA’s mission and strategic plan—my desire is not to reinvent the wheel as the IDSA Education Director, but to continue to keep positive programs in place and make improvements where possible. I have had the opportunity to observe many IDSA education directors and education conferences since attending my first IDSA Design Education Conference in Santa Fe, NM in 1995. Through attending, observing, and participating in these conferences each year since 1995, I can use these experiences, along with my 29 years of teaching design, to advance the importance of design education. This includes, but is not limited to:

Design Education Workshops 

  • Classroom Techniques - Developing appropriate relationships with students, student accountability, and communicating expectations.
  • Teaching Development - Empowering and enabling educators to craft active learning engagements and deploy educational technology (edtech) to achieve learning objectives.
  • Academic Transformation - Breakthrough teaching and learning models, innovative partnerships and alliances, and strategic transformation of higher education.
  • Mentoring Sessions - Engage our senior and retired design educators to mentor younger educators.

Design Project Sharing

  • Not in the form of a paper, necessarily, but by sharing syllabi, grading rubrics, project scopes, and learning outcomes.
  • These sessions would be limited to 10 minutes (5 to present the project and 5 for Q&A). Instead of calling them presenters, they would be called sharers.
  • Copies of the project exercise and learning outcomes would be available as “takeaways.”

If elected, I will bring enduring commitment, organizational skills, and an aspiration to engage the entire IDSA community to promote excellence in design education. I look forward to helping in this regard, and pledge to support the IDSA Board of Directors and our members.