Art for Social Change: Higher Education Student Web Design for Positive Change for Third World Nonprofit Organizations

By Lin A. Hightower and Carole Mauge-Lewis.

Published by The International Journal of Design Education

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

Global change does present challenges for academic teaching methods, but also creates opportunities to make today’s higher education curriculums more relevant through student engagement in real world projects with the third world. With the web being such a dynamic medium and providing the means whereby we can now communicate globally, course content in web design needs to embrace the global workplace and community, and provide students with interaction and collaboration with people of different countries, cultures, living standards, and to a range of different perspectives. This goal has been met by expanding the Kennesaw State University graphic design curriculum to include a component that focuses on creating websites for non-profit organizations around the globe in need of a web presence. This gives students the opportunity to become engaged in research, expand their skills in digital manipulation, visual articulation, and the written and verbal communication necessary to work with other countries and cultures. The project empowers the students and graduates as global citizens who can use their skills to make and continue to make positive world social change.

Keywords: Web Design, Social Change, Global Responsibility, International Nonprofit Organizations

The International Journal of Design Education, Volume 7, Issue 4, pp.13-17. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 248.045KB).

Dr. Lin A. Hightower

Art Professor, School of Visual Arts, Kennesaw State University, Kennesaw, GA, USA

Dr. Lin A. Hightower is a full professor with Kennesaw State University in Atlanta where she previously served as the chair of the School of Visual Arts. She also served as the associate director of the School of Art and Design and School for American Crafts at the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York. Her inspiration for her international work comes from the KSU commitment to be a leader in global engagement in their curriculum as well as her leadership training with the Global Women’s Leadership Network, San Clara, University, CA. Her area of work and research has two prongs: 1. to personally assist in world change at a grassroots level through her web design project of teaching and developing “real world” international work opportunities for our students to design websites for nonprofits around the globe, and to help artists / craftspeople and collectives design and market art products that preserve their indeginious crafts and imagery; and 2. to connect students to “real world” experiences with emerging and developing countries that allow them to use their existing art skills and learn new art skills from traditional and contemporary master artist / craftspeople, respective higher education institutions, artists’ collectives and nonprofit organizations.

Carole Mauge-Lewis

Professor, Program Coordinator of Graphic Design, Visual Arts, Kennesaw State University, Kennesaw, GA, USA

As a graphic designer, my focus is on the students' understanding of and the ability to apply the design elements and principles to develop solutions that deliver clear messages to the right audiences. In the classroom, I encourage students to commit to researching and looking at all sides of the problem to find the most effective solutions. This is accomplished by building a strong foundation of problem-solving and effective critiquing skills along with thoughtful strategic plans. Positive critique and articulation of concepts help to develop a strong design vocabulary and are very important during the design process. Of course, thumbnails, roughs and comps are all part of that process. The ultimate goal is to produce students who are motivated to become critical thinkers, understand design thinking and have a passion for visual communication. I believe that my teaching philosophy over the years has become more effective as I have matured.