Design Program

Jun 14, 2013 Debra Cheung

Mission

To develop and expand basic knowledge regarding the design of environments and objects of the human environment in the areas of interior architecture and furnishings, textiles and clothing, and visual communication. The program emphasizes environmental and socially responsible design through processes and solutions that promote resource sustainability and creative reuse of materials.

 

Faculty

The Design Program has nine faculty and one replacement position being held by the chancellor. Seven are ladder faculty and two are lecturers SOE. Five have 70/30 experiment station appointments. Three or four retirements will probably occur within the next five years.

 

Major Programmatic Thrusts of the Department

The Design Program has three basic areas of research and instruction:
  1. Interior architecture and furniture design
  2. Visual communication
  3. Textile and costume design

Projected development efforts will link each of the areas more closely with the professional and industrial partners in the state, nationally and internationally. Industries producing professionally designed, resource-using products include textiles for clothing and environmental uses, furnishings and home products, and building products. Stronger links with print and electronic communication media also fit within this agenda. Collaborative projects and internships will be proposed to develop program funding and technological support.

Design also proposes continued links with the public around topics of health education, cultural education and social diversity, and socially responsible planning and design. One faculty member is developing a project with public schools and the Education Division to introduce teaching modules on cultural arts at the elementary school level. One creates culturally significant exhibits on campus and nationally. Another works regularly with nonprofits and state agencies on development of low-income housing and social service facilities.

Program Impact/Ranking

The Design Program is the only university-level professional design program in California and it ranks fifth nationally in the Gourman Report. Faculty are nationally and internationally known artists, architects and designers.

 

Extramural Grants and Gifts

Direct grants to the Design Program in the last five years are around $150,000. Gifts to the teaching collection or other activities for the same period are valued at $55,000. Sources include Bank of America, San Joaquin County Housing Authority, Great Valley Center, UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Several faculty in the Design Program create and exhibit works of art nationally and internationally, practice professionally or publish peer reviewed works. One faculty member has been responsible for $29 million in competitively funded awards for low-income housing and 355 units of housing. Another faculty works with nonprofit health and women's issues groups on communication about women's and children's health issues.

 

Teaching Programs of the Department

The Design Program has around 350 undergraduate majors and eight graduate students in the Textile Arts and Costume Design MFA Program. The visual communication emphasis is impacted, interior architecture and furniture is full, and the textile and costume area needs expansion. Student interest in computer applications in design fields is pressuring department expansion. In an attempt to reduce dependence on Unit 18 faculty and refocus ladder faculty in their areas of expertise, the department is planning to reduce the number of undergraduate preparatory courses taught on campus, relocate some courses to lower division GE status and add advanced courses in computer aided design to meet increasing student demands.

 

Outreach/Extension Roles

The Design Program has around 350 undergraduate majors and eight graduate students in the Textile Arts and Costume Design MFA Program. The visual communication emphasis is impacted, interior architecture and furniture is full, and the textile and costume area needs expansion. Student interest in computer applications in design fields is pressuring department expansion. In an attempt to reduce dependence on Unit 18 faculty and refocus ladder faculty in their areas of expertise, the department is planning to reduce the number of undergraduate preparatory courses taught on campus, relocate some courses to lower division GE status and add advanced courses in computer aided design to meet increasing student demands.

Potential for Collaborative Links to Other Units to Develop Clusters of Excellence

  1. Between Design (textiles, clothing, household products), Textiles and Clothing, Resource Economics, Nutrition, and Food Technology around topics of product development, consumer preferences and marketing.
  2. Between Design (visual communication), Communication, and several commodity-oriented departments (Nutrition, Food Technology, Community Development, Landscape Architecture, Animal Science and Vet Med , the Med Center, Campus Research Units, etc.) with interest in communicating scientifically developed information in culturally appropriate ways.
  3. Between Design (low-income design), Community Development, Landscape Architecture, Science and Society and other campus units on projects for community design, health, development, education and public policy

Positions Needed to Improve Research, Teaching and Extension Goals

  1. Professor in graphic design to assist only ladder faculty in this impacted program. Emphasis on computer graphics, packaging and print communication. Design sees this position as a replacement appointment, not a new hire. Student demand in this area has placed this position as a critical priority.
  2. Professor in costume design to replace lost position in this area. Focus on design for specific user groups: children, teens, adults, elderly, handicapped, specialized activities and on creative use of environmentally responsible materials. Retirement replacement position.
  3. Professor of interior architecture with emphasis on commercial practice and computer generated design. Retirement replacement position.
  4. Professor of design history with contemporary emphasis. New hire possibly shared with art history as part of the Vision for the Arts Initiative.

Projected Resource Needs and Strategies for Achieving

The Design Program needs to be relocated from inadequate spaces in Walker Hall and the temporary buildings. Many of the teaching spaces have highly specialized requirements and need to be technologically improved and co-located. Department collections and gallery are inadequate for appropriate use and user access. Teaching space is well-below national university standards for design fields. Improving the existing, below standard environment will increase external support opportunities. Industrial partners are reluctant to invest in facilities when they see spaces that are beyond improvement and students who are not receiving state of the art instruction because of poor facilities. For the immediate future design will seek electronic equipment support from outside sources but look forward to more substantial contributions after relocation to new facilities. Currently design seeks computerized looms, graphic computing equipment and software, more sophisticated wood and metal working equipment, and computer-supported pattern drafting hardware and software.

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