DESIGN EDUCATION: STUDENT AND MARKET EXPECTATIONS

EVA BRANDT

Abstract


In resent years the two main design schools in Denmark (Danmarks Designskole1 and Designskolen Kolding2) undergo many changes. The overall goal for both is to obtain status as a university, and they will be evaluated in this regard in 2010. Transforming a vocational school with long handicraft traditions into a research based institution for higher education is demanding. Danmarks Designskole is in the middle of this process, many activities are initiated, both employees and students are involved, and from outside representatives from various design professions. The design process has many stakeholders with various interests and opinions. The aim it is not to design a computer system, a service or product but re-designing curriculum, work procedures, self images etc. which support educating designers of the future. This article reports on two investigations that have been carried through as part of the change processes at Danmarks Designskole. A questionnaire explore the present students reasons for wanting to become designers and their expectations to the design education and future jobs. Eight focus groups including representatives from various design professions discuss what skills and competencies that are expected from future graduates. The main issues to be discussed here are views, demands and expectations from various stakeholders and the consequences they (might) have in the process of transforming a vocational design school curriculum into a curriculum for a ‘design university’. The first section gives background information about Danmarks Designskole, the initiation of the change process, and curriculum concerns. Then the research approach is described. From section 3 to section 6 the results from the investigations are discussed. First if a vocational education still is expected? Then views about if Danmarks Designskole should educate specialised designers or design generalists. Section five give examples of expectations to the design education and in section 6 profiles of graduates are discussed. Section 7 reflects on the research approaches which is followed by conclusions.


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