Tom Gattis, IDSA

Tom Gattis, IDSA

Professor & Dean, School of Design Arts
Columbus College of Art & Design

Tom Gattis joined CCAD in 2012 to facilitate the creation the college’s new industrial design program and now serves as Dean of the School of Design. Additionally, Gattis supervises the CCAD MindMarket and is responsible for ushering in a live transformative project-based learning program for CCAD. Gattis’ prior academic leadership experience includes an associate vice president post in Hong Kong and chair of the industrial and furniture design programs at SCAD. Gattis earned his bachelor’s degree in industrial design from Auburn University and holds a master’s degree in industrial technology education from Bemidji State University. Gattis spends his spare time as a wooden boat builder and master wood turner. 


From Shiny Object Thinking to Systematic Thinking: The Need for Change in Design Education

The greatest opportunities for young designers today stem from their ability to see design not as the creation of shiny objects, but as a strategic tool to create shareholder value and improve customer experience. However, the US design education system in large part still subscribes to a 70-year-old model that doesn’t hold to these same values. Through a historic perspective and a series of case studies, this presentation will highlight a new approach for teaching design education that is collaborative and multidisciplinary. This transformative, project-based learning model prepares students for the challenges of the real world, allowing them to participate in real projects with real problems to solve for real clients–as it develops the next generation of design leaders.