What do you think about a Bachelors in "design"??

I have caught wind about a degree “redesign” in the works of my Alma Mater’s programs under the College of Architecture: Industrial Design, Architecture, and Building Construction.

You can read about them here:

http://www.coa.gatech.edu/news/story.php?id=3187

http://www.ajc.com/news/atlanta/techs-architecture-program-may-be-redesigned-101721.html

And there is a website petition to stop this change, which I have signed:

To be honest, I am quite worried about this change, and wanted to hear your opinions on the matter. Here are my thoughts:
the GATech Architecture program enjoys a good reputation in Architecture circles. Broadening their design vision in a program where they basically have to spend 5 years (as opposed to 4 in ID) could be beneficial.

For ID it would be the complete opposite. How would a reduction of the ‘focus’ years to 2 (junior and senior year) benefit students when most can’t even obtain the skills in the current 3 years?

Requirements and skillsets for BC, Architecture and ID are quite different, and using a wide brush to merge them basically gives students a broad understanding of every discipline, but specialization in none of them. This in turn graduates an individual without the specific basic skills required for jobs in his/her field of choice. Will jobs that require these ‘universal’ skills all of a sudden pop up? I doubt it. These students might be marketable for further education (Masters and PHDs) and some very strategic positions (Design strategy) but for the vast majority that just want to design product, this program change could be very harmful. You are basically telling students that the ID program at Tech is only good if you plan to go to grad school. Otherwise, you’d be out of luck, and out of a possible job.

Also, what do you pick to teach? Alias or AutoCAD? Drafting or gestural sketching? Manufacturing techniques for mass production, or construction? I went through the “common year” during my degree, and a lot of emphasis was placed on drafting…something I never used in my professional ID experience. Imagine 2 years of these ‘exercises’ that have good intentions, but don’t really give you much in terms of portfolio material or real-world application.

Take a cue from the leading schools in ID: Art Center in Pasadena, University of Cincinnati, CCS in Detroit, Parsons in NY, etc. Why are these programs so successful? Why do those graduates place more ID jobs than all other colleges? My thoughts: They specialize early, immerse the students in the basic skillsets from the get-go, and some of them require internships/work experience to graduate (a HUGE plus).

I would challenge the leaders of the college to present a draft curriculum to better answer these questions, since everything is so vague right now. All this ideological discourse and theoretical benefit isn’t doing Tech grads any favors in the real world. What they need is a hard look at the placement rates of their graduates in ID, a revamp of the entire ID program to address the ID skillset, and education for real world jobs.

Sorry for the long post. I’m sure more thoughts will come up later haha.

What do you think? Would you hire someone with this generic degree? Do you think kickass ID portfolios would be more common under this new program?

I do think the way “creatives” are being integrated today is in a much more flexible way. I know a lot of ID folks in web 2.0… the graphic design firm of Cinco did an awesome job designing Nixxon watches before they had an ID team…

BUT, I think having a program so mixed provides the danger of being a jack of all trades and a master of none. I’d rather see someone be able to major and minor… Major in Arch, Minor in ID, Major in ID, Minor in Graphics, or any which combo…

We need more signatures!!!

From the description from the school, it sounds like a scheme to push students into the graduate program. I’ve signed the petition.