Learning Design through Experience Saturday, June 9th, 2018

Understanding Best Practices in Student-Operated, Faculty-Advised Campus Design Studios

Jessica Jacobs, Assistant Professor, Columbia College Chicago

What are the best practices of creating and operating student-run, faculty-advised design studios in relation to learning outcomes, assessment, and operations?

This presentation will summarize research findings from my project, “Understanding Best Practices in Student-Operated, Faculty-Advised Campus Design Studios,” for which I received a 2016-17 AIGA DEC Faculty Research Grant.

Client-based studio practice experiences are implemented widely in graphic design curricula. As educators, we created these experiences help model the real-world practices of collaboration, client service, and design methodology. However, there is a lack of research about the goals and operations of these practicum environments and how they fit into an overall curriculum model. The actual practices of these studios vary widely in relation to pedagogical philosophy, curriculum connection, faculty involvement, student autonomy, client selection, client interaction, institutional support, and facilities.

To explore these issues, I am investigating and analyzing current design studio practices to create a suggested framework for learning outcomes and assessment that are consistent with the skills that current employers seek in our students. Essential research questions of this inquiry include:

– What are the common structures and practices of operating student-run, faculty-advised campus graphic design studios?

– What are the best practices of creating and operating student-run campus design studios in relation to program learning outcomes, assessment, student development, student satisfaction, client satisfaction, administrative support, and community engagement?

– How do these studios connect to external clients and community engagement goals of an institution? How does that contribute to the elevation of the critical discourse of design in society and culture?

These questions are being investigated via an open-ended, multi-method inquiry that combines secondary and primary data research, analysis, and evaluation. In this presentation, I will briefly discuss existing scholarly research and connect it to my current findings that have been gathered via surveys, phone interviews, and site visits to these types of campus design studios.