Faculty Research and Practice

Our faculty advance design through their practice and research. Faculty explore and discover through a process of making things, creating new methods and building new theories of design. Projects range from co-creation of sustainable transportation systems, to fighting the rise of obesity, to the role of technology in the design studio, to robots recovering from service mistakes, to documenting heightened sexuality of countercultures through location.

The scale and scope of projects range from self-initiated, solo exhibitions to international multi-institution collaborations. Many include faculty from departments across the campus. Students participate both as research assistants and through projects they undertake in classes.

Faculty research initiatives point to a set of ongoing and emerging themes, including:

  • Transitioning: Research in this area refers to design-led societal change. It explores the role design can play in negotiating and contributing to the transition to more sustainable futures.
  • Documenting: Research in this area involves representing past, present and future worlds, as well as describing products, communications, services and environments.
  • Visualizing: Research in this area involves visualizing and communicating systems, patterns and data at multiple levels of scale. Faculty investigate new forms of representation across a wide spectrum of media and experiences.
  • Designing: Research in this area involves investigating and integrating new design methods and theories for academic research and design practice.
  • Educating: Research in this area investigates how people learn and develops new ways for them to do so. It also explores how both designers and non-designers can be educated and changed through design.
  • Emerging Boundaries: Research in this area explores new materials, future based scenarios and new forms for communications, products, services and environments. It also investigates how design thinking can treat new technology as a material and means for imagining entirely new worlds.

Faculty members have conducted research for organizations such as the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Disney Research, General Electric, General Motors, the Heinz Endowments, LG, Oracle Corporation, Samsung, and the United States Postal Service. For more information about individual faculty research, please visit our faculty profile pages.