Disegno Italia: Faculty Expectation Alignment in a Collaborative Cross-Cultural Design-Based Study Abroad Program

By Rhonda L. Reymond and Nora M. MacDonald.

Published by The Design Collection

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

Art and Design faculty at West Virginia University
have worked collaboratively with two
institutions of higher learning in Italy, il Sillabo and
Nuova Accademia di Belle Arte (NABA), in creating
an undergraduate summer study abroad program, Disegno
Italia. Since a fundamental tenet of the
program’s pedagogy is that students are taught by Italian
faculty, WVU faculty designed and administered
an Interdisciplinary Design Education Assessment to obtain a
more nuanced understanding
of our Italian partners’ concept of the program. The
assessment included eight open-ended qualitative
questions addressing three categories: pedagogical methods;
perception of students and educational
systems in the U.S. and Italy; and conceptual understanding
of design and creativity. This paper addresses
the survey findings which include, most significantly, that
the faculty members from both
Italian institutions consistently considered the
trans-disciplinary nature of design and creativity processes
in their programs. While correlating with observations from
our early collaboration with design
curriculum coordinators at NABA, the results were
unanticipated from the language and humanities
program at il Sillabo. One outcome of the assessment is for
the Disegno Italia program to foster transdisciplinary
thinking even more strongly through the orientation and
curriculum to prepare students
for the complex global interactions between, across, and
beyond disciplines.

Keywords: Disegno Italia, Study Abroad Program, Transdisciplinary, Design Thinking, Creativity, Cross-cultural Education, Design Education Assessment, West Virginia University

Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal, Volume 5, Issue 4, pp.527-538. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.038MB).

Dr. Rhonda L. Reymond

Assistant Professor, Division of Art and Design, College of Creative Arts, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV, USA

Rhonda L. Reymond is an Assistant Professor of Art History at West Virginia University. She completed a BFA in Interior Design and Historic Preservation (Savannah College of Art and Design) and an MA and Ph.D. in Art History (University of Georgia). Her primary research interests are Nineteenth-Century American and European art and architecture, and in particular trans-Atlantic and cross-cultural artistic and pedagogical exchanges and issues of historicism in the nineteenth century. Dr. Reymond’s work addresses such diverse subjects as; creating a new study abroad curriculum in Italy, the influence of Italy on American artists, Nineteenth-Century urban planning, and the paintings of James McNeil Whistler and Henry Ossawa Tanner. Her dissertation, a contextual analysis of All Souls’ Church in Biltmore Village, Asheville, North Carolina, reveals the complex relationship between artistic, historical, social, economic and spiritual forces which form a reoccurring topic of study for Professor Reymond.

Prof. Nora M. MacDonald

Profressor, Design and Merchandising, Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Design, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV, USA

Currently Nora M. MacDonald was the 2010-2011 President of the International Textile and Apparel Association (ITAA) and recently was named an ITAA Fellow. In addition, she is on the Board of Directors of the Korean Academy of Marketing Science. MacDonald served as Chair of the 1999 United Nations International Year of Older Persons (UN IYOP) Clothing Initiative working with representatives from the ITAA Design and Aesthetics Committee, UN Committee on Ageing, and the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association (SGMA). Research interests include functional apparel design including clothing for older persons, educational pedagogy, and custom apparel design. Current research: Teaching for creativity and interdisciplinary, cross-cultural, study abroad education.


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