Working with Colleagues in China to Advance Design Education


In late May, Professor Kristin Hughes traveled to Wuxi, China to participate in the "Re-Design Design Education" conference. This was the first of a six-year series of events aimed at reforming Chinese design education, sponsored by the Chinese government.

The goal of the conference was to challenge participants to re-vision what a 21st century design education should be, consider how to incorporate more thinking about social, economic, and environmental issues into curriculum, and to foster a more collaborative approach to the design process.

Design educators and students from all over China attended the conference. Kristin was invited to speak about Carnegie Mellon's approach to design education, specifically on our first-year curriculum and the students’ first year experience.

Kristin also conducted a workshop with Chinese educators addressing questions such as "How can design educators guide the development of a design curriculum that values the quality of human life in balance with a healthy, stable, happy, and sustainable planet?

During Kristin's workshop, participants worked on an assignment that is typically given to first year students, as a way of re-orienting themselves to a student mindset. They also spent time as a group brainstorming, synthesizing ideas, and making recommendations for curriculum change, and committing to trying some of their recommendations in their classes next semester.

The participants thoroughly enjoyed their time together, and are already looking forward to next year's conference and workshop! Kristin will work with a team of international design educators over the next six years to track the progress and curriculum changes that are made as a result of this re-visioning effort.

An interesting side note: Our first PhD student, Xin Xiangyang is now the Dean of the School of Design at Jiangnan University, where the conference was held.

Kristin Hughes
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