Professor and Director of Graduate Studies
Stacie Rohrbach is an Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies for the MDes, MPS, and MA programs in the School of Design at Carnegie Mellon University. Stacie teaches studio- and seminar-based design courses at all levels of the undergraduate, masters, and doctoral curriculum and regularly advises thesis projects. Her research, which stems from the study of communication, information, and interaction design, and a keen interest in perception and cognition, focuses on design for learning. Prior to becoming the Director of Graduate Studies, Stacie played a significant role in the design and implementation of the School’s curriculum that was launched in 2014, which spans all of its degree programs. She also served as the School’s Communication Design Chair from 2013-2019.
Stacie's research investigates ways of translating complex, abstract information into concrete, experiential forms, and explores the integration of design pedagogy into professional and general education contexts. Stacie strives to help people understand concepts that are often difficult to grasp when delivered in a traditional manner by designing experiences that engage people in meaningful and enjoyable learning in formal and informal settings. Her recent notable projects include a focus on teaching financial well-being, chronic illness management, environmental mindfulness, middle school math and science concepts, and fundamental communication skills. In each instance, Rohrbach collaborates with colleagues across campus and local experts on projects that are situated in physical and digital contexts. Currently, Stacie's discoveries are informing an investigation of student motivation as a critical facet in the design of effective learning experiences. Continuing the work she has conducted over the past decade, Stacie is also applying her findings to the design and development of interactive assessment tools that enable students and instructors to comment on, and track, performance over time to aid continuous learning. Her recent research projects have been supported by National Science Foundation, Qatar National Research Foundation, Fine Foundation, Institute of Education Science, and Carnegie Mellon University ProSEED grants. Stacie also teaches a course related to her research, which has been sponsored by PNC Bank, the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, and UPMC Health Plan, Inc.
Stacie publishes her work that focuses on design for learning in international journals and conference proceedings, presents at national and international design and education conferences, conducts curriculum design and implementation workshops with educators and administrators across the country, runs executive education sessions, and integrates her inquiry and discoveries into her courses. In addition to teaching core undergraduate and graduate design studio courses, Stacie has developed three courses for the School of Design that speak directly to her strength in design for learning, which include ‘Information, Interaction, and Perception’, ‘Designing Experiences for Learning’, and a doctoral-level course, ‘Teaching Design II’.
Prior to her current academic appointment that began in 2003, Stacie worked professionally in print, digital, and physical media, designing identity systems, corporate standards manuals and annual reports, environmental graphics, interactive websites, and product packaging since 1996. She earned a BFA in graphic design from Carnegie Mellon University and a Master of Graphic Design from North Carolina State University. Stacie was a member of the AIGA Design Educators Community steering committee from 2007 to 2011 and served as its vice-chair for three years. She was also a board member for the Adobe Design Achievement Awards from 2011-2014. Currently, Stacie serves as an editorial board member for the AIGA Design Educators Community publications ‘Dialectic’ and ‘Dialog’. In additional to her national contributions to the field, Stacie applies her strengths in course planning and implementation to the design of rubrics and syllabi that serve as models for the School and university.