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DesignMind: Teaching Architecture and Design in a Changing World

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Teaching Architecture and Design in a Changing World

At NewSchool, our lecture series attracts exceptional scholars and practitioners from around the world. Sometimes, however, the most vital speakers are right here on campus—our faculty. Although students get to hear from them on the subjects they teach, it is important for everyone on campus to understand their scholarship so that we are fostering collaboration and creating opportunities for our students.

Recently, we got to hear from our own Vuslat Demircay, Ph.D. She has been teaching here since 2003, focused on studio and research, and she is the recipient of our 2010 Presidents’ Award. She spoke to students and faculty on the topic of “Response to Change: A Pedagogic Approach,” which she has been researching for several years. The topic is important, because the world is changing rapidly. There are social and environmental issues we need to pay close attention to, including population growth, climate change, and social and economic justice.

Not only must the practice of architecture and design change, but also how we prepare students for these professions. We have to define the roles and responsibilities accordingly. We also need to emphasize critical thinking as well as technical skills so that students develop into citizen architects and designers who can design both to the specs of the project and to the needs of society.

Some would argue that education should follow the practice of what’s happening in the industry. But Demicray and I agree that education should lead the profession. That is what we are doing at NewSchool, through our emphasis on providing international experiences, engaging students in community projects, and, of course, being guided by our north star—human-centered design.

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