The University of the Arts in Philadelphia is launching a new graduate program in Design for Social Impact.

Mission

Design is a leading agent of social change, instrumental in fostering strategic creativity, organizational learning, and community engagement. Our graduate students engage in partnerships with local organizations and businesses through projects that stress dialogue and co-design with stakeholders. We promote a design process that facilitates collaboration across disciplines, and that produces actionable models and scenarios to create sustainable change. Our process is hands-on, action-oriented, and highly visual. The needs and desires of people exist at the center of our work. We recognize the need to balance ecological, social, and economic values in the development of innovative solutions.

The Master of Design (MDes) in Design for Social Impact program are structured around a careful balance of classroom learning and reflection and real-world application of design practice. Seminars, lectures, workshops, and critiques from both faculty and leading outside professionals create a dynamic studio environment. Our partnership projects with businesses, government agencies, non-profit organizations, and community groups offer the perfect opportunity to put learning into practice and gain valuable outside perspectives on the power of design to create meaningful impact. Academically, there is great freedom to engage in self-directed and independent projects, including a final thesis project that reflects the student’s personal design interests.

The two-year, 60-credit curriculum consists of studio, methods, and seminar courses. The curriculum is project-based, which means that each semester’s course content is integrated around studio-based projects.

Because design is a collaborative profession, most studio projects will be team-based. During the first and third semesters of study, first-year students will work with second-year students and an industry partner in a shared studio. Semester two is more individually-oriented. The final year of the two-year program is devoted to a master’s thesis, in which the candidate will work more independently with a group of internal faculty and outside professionals to develop a thesis project that must advance the candidate’s chosen field of study.

Community

Students in our program learn from pioneering design professionals and thought leaders. Our faculty members are at the forefront of fields that include: architecture, environmental design, communication design, interaction design, and design strategy to cultural anthropology, psychology, industrial systems, organizational development, and entrepreneurship.

Faculty

Jeremy Beaudry Assistant Professor and MID/MDes Program Director
BFA, MSAS
Socially-Engaged Design

Anna Beresin Associate Professor
BA, PhD, MED
Psychology, Folklore and Anthropology

Christopher Garvin Associate Professor and Corzo Center Senior Fellow
BFA, MFA
Design and Business, Interaction, User Experience and Strategic Design

Jonny Goldstein Lecturer
BA, MPS
Interactive Telecommunications and Visual Thinking

Anthony Guido Associate Professor
BSID, MSLS
Industrial Design, Social Sustainability and Sustainable Business Development

Neil Kleinman Professor and Corzo Center Senior Fellow
MA, JD, PhD
Law, Writing, Technology, Graphic and Industrial Design, Creative Economy and Marketing

Sharon Lefevre Assistant Professor
BA, MA, MPHIL
Film Production and Editing, Writer

Michael McAllister Associate Professor and Corzo Center Senior Fellow
BS, MiD
Human Factors and Universal Design

Will McHale Senior Lecturer and ID Shop Supervisor
BA, MID
Local Material/Production Systems and Microeconomies, Architecture and Fabrication

Jonas Milder Associate Professor
Design Diploma (MID)
Human-Centered Design, Workplace and Educational Environment Planning

Slavko Milekic Professor
BS, MS, MD, PhD
Neuropsychology, Digital Design, Cognitive Science and Interaction

Ben Olshin Associate Professor
BA, MA, PhD
Philosophy, History of Science and Technology

Angel Rodriguez Lecturer
BS, MBA, MS
Entrepreneurship, Business Planning, Marketing and Community Business Development

Max Snyder Senior Lecturer
BS, MDes
Design Research and Strategy, Interaction

Anthony Smyrski Lecturer
BFA
Graphic Design and Communications

Pamela Tudor Lecturer
BA, MA, CDP
Organizational Consulting, Strategic Planning, Leadership and Team Building

Meredith Warner Senior Lecturer
BFA, MFA
Socially-Engaged Design, Design Research and Strategy, Design Tools

Jeffery Wolper Adjunct Associate Professor
BA, PhD
Psychology, Leadership and Team Building

Students

We welcome students to our programs from around the world, and they bring with them a wide variety of experiences and backgrounds, from business to industrial and graphic design to visual arts to the sciences. What unites our students is a shared passion for understanding the needs of people, communities, and organizations so that a truly human-centered design process can make a difference in the how they live, play, and work. Visit the MID blog for stories about our students and links to their individual blogs.

Alumni

Our alumni follow a range of professional pathways within and beyond design, whether design research, experience and interaction design, design strategy, or other entrepreneurial directions. In addition to starting their own initiatves and design consultancies, our alumni have gone on to work for such organizations as Electronic Ink, Comcast Interactive Media, andCulture, Control Group, and University of Pennsylvania Health System's Center for Innovation.

Partners

Our partnership projects with businesses, government agencies, non-profit organizations, and community groups offer the perfect opportunity to put learning into practice and gain valuable outside perspectives on the power of design to create meaningful impact. Past and on-going partners in studio and thesis projects include:

1199c Training Fund

Amuneal

Asian Arts Initiative

Center for Design + Innovation, Fox School of Business, Temple University

Committee of Seventy

Corzo Center for the Creative Economy

Franklin Learning Center

Free Library of Philadelphia

GoodCompany

Liberty Resources

MENA Design Research Center (Beirut, Lebanon)

New Kensington Community Development Corp.

Oracle/Primavera

Remas

University of Pennsylvania Health System

Our Work

Our partnership projects with businesses, government agencies, non-profit organizations, and community groups offer the perfect opportunity to put learning into practice and gain valuable outside perspectives on the power of design to create meaningful impact. In our studio and thesis work, project outcomes range from new service models, design for user experience, strategies and tools for community engagement, and the development of social entities, organizations, new businesses and initiatives.

Design in Translation

2013 Studio Project by Vrouyr Joubanian, Nidhi Jalwal, Min-Wen Yeh, and Jordan Shade with Prof. Jonas Milder and Prof. Jeremy Beaudry

Truss: A Design & Education Partnership

2013 Master's Thesis by Kelly Babcock and Alex Visconti
 

FuChi: Future Chinatown

2011 Master's Thesis by Deng-Shun Chang and Georgia Guthrie

Design Conversations: Frameworks for Collaboration and Empowerment

2012 Master's Thesis by Matthew Van Der Tuyn
 

Liberty Resources: The Road to Independence

2010 Studio Project by Jacob Wells, Sherika Wynter and Matthew Van Der Tuyn

Remas: Rethinking How Mexican Immigrants Send Remittances

2010 Studio Project by Georgia Guthrie, Alaina Pineda, Donovan Preddy and Dominic Prestifillipo

Contact Us

Applications are currently being accepted for Fall 2014 enrollment.

To learn more, contact:

Jeremy Beaudry, Program Director
215.717.6256
jbeaudry@uarts.edu

The University of the Arts
320 South Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19102