The Nancy Cantor Warehouse | EST 2006


The School of Design offers undergraduate degree programs in communications design, environmental and interior design, fashion design, and industrial and interaction design. The school also offers graduate degree programs in design and museum studies.

Our faculty are active professionals who practice in their fields while they teach. They are dedicated to ensuring that you reach your potential and give you one-on-one instruction in your studio classes.

Our school maintains a special relationship with the Syracuse community through the activities of our various student groups (including chapters of professional design organizations) that continually work on projects with not-for-profit agencies as well as funded research design collaborations. All design programs are housed in The Nancy Cantor Warehouse, SU’s building in downtown Syracuse, which allows our students and faculty to benefit from a city atmosphere and interactions with local design firms. We also encourage our students to reach beyond the local community and study abroad at one of the University’s many international centers, including Florence, Italy, and London, England.

Integral to our curricula are opportunities to acquire career development skills critical for professional designers. Professional practices are addressed in many of our courses, while visiting and resident designers provide unique insight into their respective disciplines. Internships provide invaluable experience in a real-world setting. Undergraduate students may choose to minor in entrepreneurship and emerging enterprises, which is offered through SU's Martin J. Whitman School of Management and includes coursework in essential business tools.

Design students present their portfolios each spring at events in New York City. Fashion design majors present their senior collections at the annual on-campus fashion show and may have their collections selected for the annual New York City fashion show.

Director's Welcome

It is always a great pleasure to welcome our new and returning students to the Warehouse. For us, this academic year marks a historic milestone as we celebrate the launch of the new School of Design.

Emerging from design-related disciplines historically dispersed across the Syracuse University campus, and later, collected into the Department of Design at the Warehouse, the recent establishment of the School of Design offers our community exciting new opportunities and enhanced responsibilities. This year we also welcome our very first cohort of freshmen to our new cross-disciplinary first-year experience. This long awaited day is momentous as for the first time we have responsibility and privilege of shaping all of our emerging designers in their freshman year.

As we move into the future, we must first recognize the dedication of our faculty members whose efforts over many years have resulted in these notable achievements. This year, they have been joined by several new members who bring their enthusiasm and global expertise to our community.

Situated within a prestigious research university, the new School of Design offers our students a unique platform of disciplines where students and faculty investigate the complexities of contemporary design practice and design scholarship. Here, making is not simply an act or a craft, but rather, a form of critical design thinking which provokes and explores transformative change. 

Our school nurtures an environment where ideas find form and design practices become socially inclusive. As a reaction to conflicting visions and diminishing resources across the globe, design practice is undergoing unprecedented change. Yet design offers us the chance to shape a far more sustainable and inclusive future. With this in mind, we should collectively transform and enhance the broadest goals for our individual disciplines and ourselves—to strengthen the relationship between studios and research—and to shape an agenda which prioritizes interdisciplinary responsiveness to contemporary design issues. 

We should always keep in mind that the fundamental role of design in academia is to challenge the status quo, to act as a mirror, and to critique conventional sensibilities and standards of practice. The emerging domain of our School of Design, and more specifically its transdisciplinary collaborations, must promote work that is simultaneously speculative and pragmatic, global and local. Over the next semester, we will continue to refine our curriculum and working methodologies embodying an ethos which balances rigorous educational challenge with support, to address how we, one of the most disciplinarily diverse design schools in North America, and one of the few who have a dedicated design first-year experience, can support and prepare our students to become tomorrow’s design leaders. 

As a multicultural and international community of makers and scholars, thinkers and doers, I believe that our potential together--in the School of Design--is indeed limitless. I encourage our students to do their very best to meet the goals that their professors set for them. We have great hopes for each of you and collectively look forward to an exciting semester.

James W. R. Fathers

Director, School of Design

Iris Magidson Endowed Chair of Design Leadership

School Policies

The policies in this document must be followed by students and faculty in the School of Design. If you have any questions, please contact us.

This document is not a full and exhaustive list of policies. Faculty and instructors have rights and responsibilities as determined by the University in addition to those outlined in the School of Design policies. For information on University-wide policies for faculty, please refer to the Office of the Provost’s Faculty Manual.

For information on University-wide policies for students, please visit the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities. Students must also abide by College of Visual and Performing Arts' rules as outlined in the VPA Student Handbooks (undergraduate and graduate).

School of Design Policies [PDF]

School of Design Research Ethos [PDF]

School of Design Tenure and Promotion Evidence Document [PDF]