James Fathers

School of Design

Program Coordinator, M.F.A. in Design

James Fathers

108A The Nancy Cantor Warehouse
350 West Fayette Street
Syracuse, NY 13202

James W.R. Fathers is a professor of design and coordinator of the School of Design’s M.F.A. in design program.

He entered the education sector in 1997 following ten years as a designer in manufacturing and two years as a government 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. Prior to joining Syracuse he was instrumental in establishing links between design and business, including launching an MBA in design management and the design-focused incubator DesignWorks.

Fathers’ teaching and learning activity focuses on sustainability, universal design, and design in a development context. His significant research interest in socially responsible design has been developed with the delivery of a number of journal and international conference papers. His registered doctoral research focused on the role of design education in a development context, which led to a 12-month research sabbatical to India, where he worked alongside local crafts groups to develop appropriate design training strategies to facilitate enterprise development.

Fathers holds a Ph.D. from the University of Wales, Cardiff, and a B.A. from South Glamorgan Institute of Higher Education in Cardiff, Wales. He is a fellow of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures, and Commerce (RSA). Recent work has focused on the challenge of integrating design across the campus at Syracuse University or perhaps put differently, releasing the virus of design so it infects and impacts all aspects of the University. Examples of this would be being the PI for the Blackstone LaunchPad and the more Innovation campus cluster hire initiatives and being founding faculty on the Invent@SU initiative, a groundbreaking initiative between the College of Engineering and the School of Design.


  • Ph.D., University of Wales, Cardiff
  • B.A., South Glamorgan Institute of Higher Education, Cardiff