U-M Art and Design School Gets New Graduate Program


The University of Michigan Stamps School of Art and Design announced Wednesday a new two-year graduate program in integrative design beginning in fall 2015.

The program will have its first cohort of students address issues of 21st century health care by working alongside health care professionals, industry partners, and other experts across the university as part of an effort to get students invested in fast-changing real-world problems. Participants will work in targeted groups to develop solutions to issues, such as hospital productivity and efficiency, aging populations, and doctor-patient relationships. As the program progresses, each new cohort will address a different issue.

“Most design education is still focused around individual disciplines — industrial design, graphic design, etc., but in actual practice, most designers work in teams, solving problems using an integrative design process,” says John Marshall, director of the Stamps Master Design program. “What we are providing is hard to find, yet also very much in demand — deep, rigorous training in the broad principles and foundations of design thinking and research methodologies, and hands-on experience in the integrative design process.”

Marshall says the U-M art and design school is one of the few graduate programs in the country to focus design training on collaborative design processes rather than individual, product-based skill building. The program selects a team of experienced designers to engage with top-tier researchers, and focus on the design process, cross-disciplinary teamwork, and problem-based learning to resolve issues.

“Now more than ever, designers are being asked to play a leading role in addressing unpredictable, fast-changing, and ambiguous conditions in non-design settings,” says Guna Nadarajan, dean of the Stamps School.

“With unparalleled access to literally hundreds of experts and researchers in fields such as law, public policy, economics, and more, the Stamps School is uniquely situated to lead the conversation in the role that design can play in contemporary society, and to transform the way design is taught and practiced around the world,” Nadarajan says.

The program will enroll experienced designers wishing to transform their career path, or professionals in other field who want to transition to a design-engaged practice.

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