University of Washington

anyone been or know anything about this program. looks like it’s fairly new. I’ve heard good things about their fine arts department but nothing about this. thanks

I graduated from the UWID Program in '05. The program actually has a pretty long history and has produced some very successful designers. The department has had a major overhaul since then so I can’t say much about it what it’s like now but my experience there was very good and provided me with a well-rounded education and skill set. I would say the program is definitely worth looking into.

thanks for your reply. Did you feel the program had good resources for going into toy design? Also do you know if you need a design degree in undergrad to apply for the grad program? or is sculpture an acceptable degree? thanks again.

I’m not certain of the requirements of the UWID grad program but I’m sure background in sculpture is a good thing. I suggest you arrange to meet with one of the instructors or some of the students. They are usually more than willing to show you around and give you the info you need.
The UW has a ton of resources to offer and it is common to collaborate with other departments like engineering and computer sciences for example. I have no doubt that you could apply these resources to some really rewarding studies in toy design.
best of luck!

I’ll actually be starting in the MFA Visual Communications Design program there in the fall. It’s pretty close with the ID program, and in fact when I interviewed there one of the ID professors sat in on my interview because of my expressed interest in interdisciplinary work. Overall, the School of Art is very focused on Design as a profession vs. Graphic Design or Industrial Design or Furniture Design as separate ones, so they are very open to people coming from different backgrounds, as long as their portfolios are still competitive with those from the more traditional background. The major thing that supports this is that you can take your elective courses from within the upper level undergrad curriculum, so you get the chance to choose electives which support growth in the areas that you specifically need it. Another big focus at UW is using design to promote good things, not just making stuff for stuff’s sake. It lends the work a bit of a more serious air than you’ll find at many of the art schools.

I don’t think I’ll be able to take any ID courses in the fall (got to shore up some previous shoddy typographical education first), but I’m set to TA their interdisciplinary form studio in the spring, so I’ll be sure to update once I’ve experienced what their ID students are like.

wait a sec.

Their program was shut down several years ago.
Faculty and students had to transfer to Western Washington U.
The reconstituted program has no full time faculty, let alone tenured ones.
No NASAD accreditation.

…and this is a good choice why?

After the '05 class graduated the program was put on hold to be reorganized for closer collaboration with the other design departments. At that time the master’s ID curriculum was also introduced. From what I understand this program is going strong.
I believe that you are incorrect saying that “Faculty and students had to transfer to Western Washington U.”

you are correct, students and faculty did not have to transfer - it was voluntary.
They could’ve waited around for the school to get their act together - but not getting paid or matriculating.

Perhaps the university has a commitment to an ID dept. Presumably one day they will have full time faculty and accreditation. If it was my money and my time, I’d choose to study/teach elsewhere untill they demonstrate it.

It’s unheard of in academia to put a department on “hold”.

they can changed to another place

Just to clarify, there was no department put on hold, only a program. The ID program is part of the Design department along with the Visual Communication Design, Interdisciplinary Visual Studies, and Design Studies programs.

Update: I’ve only been at UW a couple of weeks now, but this is the info I’ve gleaned on how ID is going here. It’s very, very, very small now. Only one student per year in the MFA program, actually. There’s a full time industrial faculty and a full time interaction design faculty member here already, and I’ve heard talk of another full time industrial prof coming in later this year as they expand the undergrad program and push to get more people for the next entering grad class. The seminar which VCD (my program) and ID grads take together is very theoretical, very contextual, lots of talk about how designers can use their skills to better the planet instead of make products that may only be contributing to the decline of society and the environment. There is a lot of opportunity for self-direction here, in that we are given projects where we must respond to a prompt in some way but it is up to each student to choose what physical form the response will take. Faculty are willing to put together special classes if there is a small group of students (3-5) interested, and students can pick and choose from courses offered with a high degree of autonomy compared to other curriculums I looked at. The thesis projects are all very self directed. So it seems like a place where you need to have a good idea of why you are in grad school, not a place where you can just show up and say ‘Teach Me!’