Composing Collaborations: Multi-discipline Integration within a Design Curriculum

By Shea Tillman.

Published by The International Journal of Design Education

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

Is it truly feasible for a design curriculum to provide the wide range of instruction needed to fully prepare a student to lead the next generation of innovation? Do design-centric projects fully promote a mindset of innovation that is flexible enough to adjust to future shifts in the discipline or an individual’s career? Is pairing another degree with design really the only answer to extending the knowledge-base required for future innovators? Perhaps we should begin to view and compose undergraduate design programs as a palette of different collaboration types, levels, and exposures that give students a more holistic and outward understanding of the broad impact of design. By coordinating distinct types of collaboration (process-based, project-based, and instruction-based) while balancing both internal and external experiences, students and faculty can reap the gains of learning through, and with, other disciplines and organizations as an alternative to further extending curriculum requirements or establishing dual degree systems. This paper will examine and illustrate recent examples of how an industrial design program can integrate a diverse set of collaboration frameworks into a curriculum to grow a culture of innovation among both its faculty and students.

Keywords: Collaboration, Multidisciplinary, Industrial Design

The International Journal of Design Education, Volume 6, Issue 3, pp.97-105. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 2.309MB).

Shea Tillman

Associate Professor, Department of Industrial and Graphic Design, Auburn University, Alabama, USA

Shea Tillman is an associate professor with the Department of Industrial and Graphic Design at Auburn University, and recently shifted to teaching in the design foundations program after four years in 3rd year product design studios. He currently teaches studios 2D and 3D design principles, product photography, and applied design research to graduate students. His research interests include improving the integration of user research in product development, maximizing creative processes within collaborations, and developing enhanced patient experiences through environmental and medical device design. Prior to joining the faculty at Auburn, he worked as an industrial designer with Techtronic Industries, developing new products for the Ryobi, Ridgid, and Craftsman brands. In addition, he worked as a user researcher with SonicRim, a research and strategy consultancy based in Columbus, Ohio, and with Cooper Lighting designing commercial lighting systems.