Web standards designers heading toward academia?

Web standards designers heading toward academia?

Tiff Fehr

June 12, 2008 at 4:28 PM

Is web design and web standard thinking—formerly a self-teaching badge of honor—heading into academia? Today NYC’s School of Visual Arts announced a new MFA program in Interaction Design, to launch “fall of 2009”. The program plans to focus on “concepts central to interaction design, including design research, human-computer interaction, interface design, graphic design, information architecture, and ubiquitous computing.” While the curricula sounds solid enough, the potential faculty is the bigger news: “A portion of the faculty includes” Christopher Fahey, David Womack, Jason Santa Maria, Karen McGrane, Khoi Vinh, Paul Ford, Rachel Abrams and Jeffrey Zeldman, with Liz Danzico presiding as department chair.

In addition to SVA’s MFA IxD progam (acronyms galore!), Khoi Vinh recently blogged about SVA’s new Design Criticism MFA, too. The faculty features names readily familiar to web designers, with a specific program focus on expanding design criticism to “the broadest possible definition of design, the curriculum includes graphic, web and product design”. Outside New York, many conferences and seminars on calendars this year skew academic (or at least “teaching”) as well, with what seems to be a sign that web design conventions are patterned enough to round out a degree. It also indictes that academic departments believe they can keep up and stay relevant even with fast-paced technology changes.

Design is obviously the easier to nail down than development. Perhaps higher degree programs centered around web development aren’t far behind. Know of any other new programs that focus in part on web design and development? Post ‘em up.



June 13, 2008 at 11:21 AM

Savannah College of Art and Design has both a BA and MA available in Interaction Design. They are also both available via brick and mortar or online.

I don’t know if SCAD is on the same level as SVA, but it is nice that there are starting to be more options available.

Nick Finck

June 13, 2008 at 11:54 PM

It’s probably also good to note that WaSP is in the process of developing a curriculum that universities can use to put in place such a web standards design program. I am one of the individuals involved with this group as well (WaSP EduTF ACT).

EduTF Report Highlights Curriculum Project


June 15, 2008 at 12:49 PM

Normally, I’d lift my brow with skepticism regarding formalizing this, but there is obviously a need for this and with the names attached, it looks like it might actually have some merit.

Here’s a list of graduate design courses in Canadian colleges:

… some have “digital media” streams but none look specific to web design/development.