Strengthening Connections/Devising Designs: Forging New Connections through Collaborative Processes

By Fiona MacNeill.

Published by The Design Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper demonstrates how design can be used as a cohesive communication tool within an academic setting. It charts the progress of a campus-wide group at Carleton College, founded to strengthen the connections between academic support professionals who are geographically separate and professionally diverse. The group embarked upon a mapping design project, initially as a functional means of describing interrelations between support type, discipline and location, but over time the project evolved into something much more important to the whole campus. This process was facilitated by several layers of design interaction; a yearlong design process working with a group of non-designers, mentorship of student designers who produced the body of work; close collaboration with a liaison in the Dean of the College Office. The process of design led to a paradigm in group work; not only did the act of designing build bonds between those in the group, but student involvement with the project brought the support group closer to the students whom they serve. The experience helped to foster new perspectives on the power of visuality when applied to practical applications within the college.

Keywords: Communication, Academic, Academic Support, Support Professionals, Campus, Map, Non-Designers, Mentorship, Collaboration, Pedagogy, Students, Faculty, Administration, Policy, Interaction, Visuality

Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal, Volume 5, Issue 2, pp.241-258. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 9.333MB).

Fiona MacNeill

Academic Technologist, Information Technology Services, Carleton College, Minneapolis, MN, USA

Prior to becoming an Academic Technologist at Carleton College, Fiona MacNeill worked at The Soap Factory art gallery in Minneapolis for three years, providing technical assistance to artists and managing the volunteer program. MacNeill is a practicing Performance and New Media artist and has exhibited her work in the United States and Europe. Her practice also encompasses curatorial work as the founder and lead curator of Performance and New Media event, Artery 24 (now entitled Artery). MacNeill has created freelance design for commercial and non-profit clients, developing a variety of materials including: websites, catalogues, print, video and audio.

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