Modeling The Future Of Design Education

DIGMA creates and supports initiatives that position Massachusetts as a global center for design excellence.

One such initiative, DESIGN-ED, began with a series of interviews and discussions to uncover the particular value of design education in Massachusetts. We identified the conduits of knowledge, students, and funding in and out of the state, as well as some highlights of the system.

Now, DIGMA invites you to explore what design education can, and should, become.

‘THE MASSACHUSETTS SCHOOL OF DESIGN’ is an innovative effort by academic and professional thought leaders to model the future of design education.

The following questions were posed in a series of interviews. Participants included leaders from Design Continuum, Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, Boston Society of Architects, Boston Architectural College, Northeastern University, The Institute for Human-Centered Design, Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Proverb and Babson College. Their input was generous and insightful, and confirmed the value of this collaborative, neutral initiative.

Why study design in Massachusetts?
how is a design degree valuable?
what’s so great about MA?
what makes a good design school?
how does design education fuel the economy?

How are design programs in Massachusetts successful?
how is success measured?
is a design degree worth the money?
who benefits most: students or schools?
how do design schools sell themselves?

How should Massachusetts design education evolve?
what feedback loop exists to ensure on track?
what informs the curriculum?
what needs to be dropped?
what needs to be introduced?
does a school’s goal match that of the students?

“The state’s design talent will, without question, play a key role in the future – helping to design new and innovative solutions to our most pressing social and economic challenges.”

Beth Siegel, President of Mt. Auburn Associates

Working with the Cambridge-based research rm Mt. Auburn Associates, DIGMA sought to map data to the narratives from the interviews in order to place design in the broader context of city and state economic growth.

How does design education fuel the economy?

# and type of schools (including online and other new formats)
# and type of disciplines
# of degree programs offered
“edge” disciplines
enrollment numbers in the programs: FT, PT, G, UG, Certificate
graduation/attrition rates
student #s: In-state, out of state, international
ratio of design grad job placement, comparison to other industries
ratio of design grad in-state retention for jobs

Open source, open doors.
The results of this exciting initiative will be shared online and at an in-person summit with government and education leaders from the state. This first effort will also serve as a launchpad for ongoing contributions to a globally-recognized resource for design schools and others.