FY21 Designmatters Goals

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Jennifer May, Executive Director, Designmatters July 31, 2020

As the social innovation department at ArtCenter, Designmatters takes our responsibility to provide educational opportunities for students, faculty and staff to become agents of change very seriously.

We believe that there cannot be social innovation without social justice. We believe that designers and artists have an important role to play in ensuring our world is an equitable and just world. We believe that Black Lives Matter.

Every year, Designmatters creates a list of department goals heading into the next fiscal year (which started July 1 for ArtCenter). These goals are meant to provide a roadmap and help us prioritize our efforts and time. We want to share our goals with you, to be transparent and to hold ourselves and the institution accountable.  Some of these we have been working on for a while and are continuing to develop; others are new initiatives for us.

FY21 Designmatters Goals

• Recruit more faculty of color to ArtCenter to teach Designmatters studios.

○ Develop mechanisms to bring more diverse perspectives to DM studios for guest lectures, crits and workshops.

• Develop methods (i.e. surveys, focus groups) to collect ideas for studio/project topics from faculty, students and staff to ensure courses and other learning offerings are addressing issues that are important to our community.*

• Develop courses and extracurricular opportunities for students, faculty and staff to envision and design for an equitable and just post-pandemic world.*

• Review Designmatters’ mission statement, vision, pillars and all language on website, application forms and other materials to ensure that they accurately communicate our antiracist, inclusive and equitable values.*

• Focus and Expand the Designmatters Minor and course offerings.

○ Review and revise the requirements of the Designmatters Minor to ensure the Minor is:

1) Accessible to all undergraduate students starting in their 2nd term*
2) Academically rigorous.
3) Explicitly addressing diversity, equity and inclusion in learning outcomes.

○ Align policies with H&S Minors to ensure all Minor requirements are consistent and accessible for undergraduate students across all disciplines. *

○ Create a clear system to identify DM Minor applicable courses, independent studies and internships across all disciplines.

○ Work with H&S to establish an Intro to Design for Social Innovation Course*

○ Grow Designmatters Minor cohort by 10%.

○ Work with Grad Chairs to explore a Social Innovation Lab presence for Graduate Students*

• Develop a badge program for Designmatters for new audiences. *

○ Establish a transdisciplinary advisory group to determine learning outcomes and courses.

○ Work with ArtCenter Online Education team to determine best practices and structures for learning outcomes.


Acting as agents of change through design for social innovation is not easy.  It is hard, messy, humbling work, and dialogue and criticism are necessary to that work.  Our team is always open to ideas, questions and discussion. We are here to listen and to support you.

*New DM Initiative for 2021

Jennifer May, Executive Director
Sherry Hoffman, Faculty Director
Kimberly Velazco, Program Manager
Garret Scullin, Senior Coordinator
Steven Butler, Creative Operations Manager