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.
It is always a great pleasure to welcome our new and returning students to the Warehouse. Every year brings an exciting new start full of limitless potential.
For me this academic year is particularly exciting because we are welcoming nine new full-time faculty members covering all of our undergraduate majors. 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, since the launch of our dedicated first-year experience, we welcome our third cohort of first years into the school. For me the most significant aspect of this, apart from the fact that they represent an amazing pool of talent, is that this group brings us to a new place where three-quarters of our current students have now experienced designing together across the traditional disciplines. In a world where the vast majority of design happens in a multidisciplinary environment, the fact that our design graduates have learned how to work together across disciplinary boundaries is no small thing.
So, who are we? The vision of the School of Design is: To provide a rigorous and nurturing learning environment that creates collaborative, resourceful, resilient designers successfully working in and leading in a world of massive change.
Design at Syracuse has a long and proud history of over 98 years, with an impressive group of engaged alumni. Design at Syracuse is one of the top multidisciplinary schools housed within a research university. The opportunity this affords students is second to none, where they can investigate the complexities of contemporary design practice and scholarship, allowing them to take full advantage of collaborations within the school and across the full spectrum of the University, from engineering to psychology and beyond. Here, design is informed by the full breadth of academic discourse; we are committed to sustainability and socially inclusive design, and making is not simply an act or a craft, but rather a form of critical design thinking which explores and provokes transformative change.
We should always keep in mind that the fundamental role of design in academia is to challenge the status quo and to critique conventional sensibilities and standards of practice. The emerging domain of our School of Design, and more specifically its trans-disciplinary collaborations, must promote work that is simultaneously speculative and pragmatic, global and local. Over the next year, we will continue to refine our curriculum and working methodologies embodying an ethos which balances rigorous educational challenge with dynamic 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 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