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Session Description

Başak Altan, IDSA

Design Strategist & Educator


Track 2 - 4:15pm EDT

Presentation: Organic Design Education for Circular Economy

This paper reviews desired factors and systemic influences to cultivate a thriving setting for organic design education to prepare design students for a circular economy. It reviews faculty-driven initiatives adopted in a sustainable and social impact
design studio where aspects of the organic educational setting were integrated. The paper concludes with the final results of these practices.

James Rudolph

Associate Professor of Design, Notre Dame


Track 2 - 4:30pm EDT

Presentation: Bootstrapping Leadership Through Design

Research into the current state of design education has suggested a rather negative outlook, including a dated educational model, poor academic rigor, and sub-par scholarly achievement. One of the more alarming findings point to the relative failure of design students to attain the academic and industry success of their peers in business, medicine, and law (Meyer & Norman, 2020).  Why are design students not attaining the level of leadership gained by their business, engineering, and marketing peers? What’s missing from the curriculum that would enable more effective and successful industry leaders graduating from design programs? These research questions are investigated in several steps.

Raja Schaar, IDSA

Program Director at Drexel University's Westphal College of Media Arts & Design

Chris Baeza

Program Director & Assistant Teaching Professor, Drexel University's Westphal College of Media Arts & Design


Track 2 - 4:45pm EDT

Presentation: Using Design Fiction to Teach Ethics in Design

How do we teach Design in the face of an ethical awakening when issues of climate change are complicated by political turmoil, social injustice, and food insecurity; where advances in technology come laden with concerns over surveillance, data privacy, equity, and dependence? What if designers were less concerned with driving the economy, but instead designing a better planet? What if design education pushed students to identify problems that don’t exist yet by connecting their understanding of history, society, technology, and design to provoke, interrogate, and shape the future by grounding themselves in the study of ethics and design futures? How can the context and concepts of design fictions allow students space to conceptualize, explore, and critique design ideas through an ethical lens?

Aziza Cyamani

Instructor in Interior Architecture and Industrial Design, Kansas State University


Track 2 - 5:00pm EDT

Q&A Session

Immediately following the presentations of Başak Altan, IDSA, James Rudolph, Raja Schaar, IDSA and Chris Baeza, Aziza Cyamani will moderate a Q&A session.

Sheng-Hung Lee, IDSA

Designer + Engineer

John Liu

Graduate Student, MIT


Track 2 - 5:30pm EDT

Presentation: Experimenting With Design Thinking and System Engineering Methodologies

The paper explores the history of two methodologies: “Design Thinking” as shaped by the Industrial Design community and “Systems Engineering” which was developed by NASA and government-led R&D. How can these two methodologies that evolved from radically different environments be combined to tackle systemic challenges that our society faces today? The paper explores the possibilities for human-centered system design and introduces new frameworks that can help designers evolve their craft for the decades ahead.

Aziza Cyamani

Instructor in Interior Architecture and Industrial Design, Kansas State University


Track 2 - 6:00pm EDT

Panel Discussion: Adapting on the Fly, COVID-19 & Industrial Design Education

We are living through a time of constant change due to the global pandemic and the design industry continues to adapt to these changes. What role does academia play? How has Industrial Design education adjusted to the global pandemic? In times when students and professors are working under unprecedented disruptions, how can we provide a meaningful educational environment? How can we support adaptive collaborative research and development through setbacks? How can our academic-industry collaboration model facilitate a new approach and lead the way? What are the experiences we can learn from and build upon, fostering DESIGN EXCHANGE across academia and industry? Join us for an actionable discussion!


Mekin Elcioglu

Assistant Professor, Kansas State University

Mike Elwell

Director, Richmond Institute for Design + Innovation, Western Michigan University

Keith Instone

Founder, Dexterity User Experience


Track 2 - 6:00pm EDT

Panel Discussion: Design Exchange, Crossing Disciplines & Professions

Interdisciplinary collaboration is crucial in the design industry, so why don’t we teach that way more often in higher education? Starting with case studies of two successful collaborations in industrial design education, with occupational therapy and with engineering, we will explore a variety of issues. 

How do the various lenses on “users” overlap and complement each other to prepare students for industry success? How do you overcome academic silos to create and maintain an interdisciplinary program? How does the educational experience change? And what foundations of ID education need to change to support these better ways of learning?


Eric Schneider

Assistant Professor, Thomas Jefferson University

Louise R Manfredi, PhD, IDSA

Assistant Professor, Syracuse University

Michael Barrett

Occupational Therapist, Thomas Jefferson University

Sarah McNabb

Doctor of Occupational Therapy

Carly Hagins, IDSA

Assistant Professor of Product Design, Western Michigan University


Track 2 - 6:00pm EDT

Panel Discussion: A Classic Debate: Is Grad School Worth It?

We’ve heard it plenty of times: “nobody goes to grad school for design.” But is it true? And even if it’s not true, is going to graduate school worth it? What makes it worth it (or not?) This panel will bring together professionals with a variety of experiences to duke it out, debate-club style, with plenty of time and opportunities for audience participation. Statements will be prepared, and rebuttals will be encouraged.


Benjamin Bush, IDSA

Assistant Professor, Auburn University

Derek Cascio

Department Chair of Industrial Design, Wentworth Institute of Technology

Hector Silva

Executive Director, Advanced Design

Rebecca Ngola

Senior Creative Designer, USAA

Sawyer Alcazar-Hagen, S/IDSA

University of Oregon


Track 2 - 6:45pm EDT

2020 West District Undergraduate Student Merit Award Winner

Sawyer Alcazar-Hagen is a student at the University of Oregon – Portland Campus, currently pursuing a bachelor of fine arts degree in product design. Sawyer was born in Loveland, CO and raised in Bend, OR.  “​​​​​​​My greatest enjoyment derives from making things for others and making people smile through the work I create,” Sawyer says. “After five years of design school at the University of Oregon, it has become my mission to create a better future.  Like Bill Nye says, ‘Leave the world better than you found it.’”

Proudly supported by SolidWorks

Owen Foster

Co-founder and Director of Aether Global Learning and SHiFT Design Camp

John McCabe

Director of Strategy, Aether Learning


Track 2 - 7:00pm EDT

Keynote Presentation: You're part of the Zombie Apocalypse: It's not your fault. It's mine.

Join us for a lively debate covering trends in education, student needs, industry expectations, and institutional capabilities. This conversation will be a fun dialogue that is fueled by our over 30 years of public, private, and non-traditional educational experience. We will embrace diverse perspectives, fill any gaps we find along the way, and envision a future of learning where we aren't aimlessly following the masses looking for brains.




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