Joseph Kunkel / Sustainable Native Communities Collaborative / Arizona State University / Executive Director / Architecture, University of Maryland, School of Architecture Planning and Preservation, 2009 / 03.30.18

Where is design going?

Design is a means for social change and has the potential to impact how we navigate public policy, economic development, how we plan/develop our communities and cities, and even how to better understand the complexities of our health systems. Design levels the playing ground for how we engage in our every day, providing opportunities for participation and active conversation.

How can design education be more relevant?

Design education has the potential to bridge many different fields. For it to become more relevant we need to break out of the walls of our design studios and start working more closely with folks in public health, medicine business, engineering, history, etc and share how we work, think, and practice. It’s only then will we be able to share the relevance that a design education offers.

What are the future skillsets designers need to learn now?

Designers need to understand and develop processes/skillsets which allow them to understand systems which we don’t particularly and conventionally think of being designed, in other words, systems that we cannot see, i.e. policy, public health, economics, etc. While designers will continue to positively impact our physical environment there is tremendous potential to impact society through these “invisible systems”.

What should a design school do to prepare students for transdisciplinary work?

The Design School should be developing a curriculum that is cross-disciplinary, inviting those outside of the Design School to take basic level studios and seminars. This will introduce a general design education to those not directly engaged, fundamentally changing the perception of design and it’s relationship to our every day. In return, our design students start to become better versed in the conversations outside of the design fields, and the larger impacts they can have.

What should a design school do to forward equity and inclusion?

This is a compounding, multi-generational question and not easily answered, nor solved by just one “school” or institution. What the Design School can and should start doing is to become an advocate for equity and equality within the higher education system. Set the tone for what other art and design school can be doing to become more inclusive. Showcase that inclusivity doesn’t mean lower expectations, you raise the bar for all by empowering all to obtain what has historically been an elitist education.

Joseph Kunkel

Sustainable Native Communities Collaborative / Arizona State University

Executive Director

Architecture, University of Maryland, School of Architecture Planning and Preservation, 2009

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