Current VPA News

James Fathers, director of the College of Visual and Performing Arts’ School of Design and the Iris Magidson Endowed Chair of Design Leadership, authored the article “Equipping Future Change Agents” in the Summer 2016 issue of Innovation, the Industrial Designers Society of America quarterly.

James Fathers

In the article, Fathers, who is a professor of industrial and interaction design, discusses how to positively change industrial design education so that it continues to be relevant.

“One of the keys is to prioritize and leverage the holistic student experience,” he writes. “It’s not enough to just think about what happens in individual classrooms. We can add so much more value by considering how we can facilitate emerging designers to leverage the whole university experience: studying abroad, business, humanities, art, technology, internships, etc.”

Students in the School of Design’s industrial and interaction design program learn a wide range of skills and take academic and studio electives within the school as well as the larger University. They may study abroad in their junior year at Syracuse University’s London Center.

Fathers entered the education sector in 1997, following 10 years as a designer in manufacturing and two years as a consultant to small and medium enterprises on innovation and design. Since then, he has put this experience into practice in learning, teaching, research and enterprise. Over the years he has gained extensive experience in the development of programs and initiatives aimed to enhance the learning and overall experience of design students.

Founded in 1965, the nonprofit IDSA is one of the oldest and largest membership associations for industrial design professionals. IDSA has thousands of members in dozens of student chapters, professional chapters and special interest sections in the United States and internationally.