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Jessica Barness

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  1. Dear colleagues, Below please find the call for participation for our CAA Annual Conference 2020 session, Designing Scholarship: Communication Design and Academic Journal Publishing Practices • Submission deadline: July 23, 2019. • Email submissions to co-chairs Amy Papaelias (papaelia@newpaltz.edu) and Jessica Barness (jbarness@kent.edu) • Use the submission template available at https://caa.confex.com/caa/f/tnxbicijhcpp. • Submission acceptance/rejection notification: August 22, 2019. Designing Scholarship: Communication Design and Academic Journal Publishing Practices The visual design traditions of academic journals have endured since the late seventeenth century, when Philosophical Transactions and the Journal des Sçavans began publication. Late nineteenth century publishing innovations, including stereotype printing, steam powered printing presses, and cheaper forms of paper and binding, allowed for a rapid growth of scholarly journals. In the late twentieth century, desktop publishing revolutionized and democratized the processes for reproducing images, creating page layouts, and the production of periodicals. More recently, digital publishing expanded ways of accessing, writing, and reading journals. The design of scholarship influences its credibility, comprehension, and accessibility. Printing and digital technologies, combined with visual communication design, play critical roles in establishing the conventions and future possibilities of scholarly publishing, yet limited research exists on this subject. This session solicits presentations on the design of academic journals and welcomes contributions from designers, publishers, scholars, and editors. Selected papers will investigate the past, present, and future of communication design and journal publishing. Questions that may be addressed include: What are some examples (historical or present-day) of successful partnerships between designers, editors, and journal publishers? What role does design play in the tension between scholarly goals to openly share knowledge with the financial pressures of for-profit academic publishing? What is gained or lost in the digital production and templatization of journals? Where are design innovations happening in born-digital journals, open access models, and experimental publishing platforms? How can communication design amplify scholarly publication in emerging disciplines? For further details: https://caa.confex.com/caa/2020/webprogrampreliminary/meeting.html
  2. @Dan Wong Yes, this would be a great panel discussion. Industry is moving far more rapidly than academia; we should be leading the way, but given the nature of academia in general, we're somewhat stuck. I'm currently working with a colleague on a project related to this, and one of the things we're looking at are the shortcomings of traditional academic research methods. This likely comes down to faculty time/energy/interest as well as insitutional investment. Currently, design students are learning flexible processes and frameworks so that they can address any new problem, but the gap between academic vs industy design research keeps getting wider. Practice-based graduate research (in any terminal degree: MFA, MDes, MGD, PhD, etc) is what may help to move forward both academic design research and teaching.
  3. Thanks, RJ, and you've raised a good point – the results of sophomore review could certainly impact upper-level courses. In our program, it was also a mechanism for determining BA vs BFA degree paths in visual communication design.
  4. PhD and MFA/MDes degrees are both valuable and yes, each track of study has a different goal. Some PhD programs are more practice-based than others. MFA programs also exist in extremes and everywhere in between. Some MFA programs are heavily geared toward design research, and others follow the fine arts model of graduate study in design. When we run a faculty search, we just require that applicants have a terminal degree. There is no reason a faculty member holding an MFA/MDes degree can't pursue publication in a peer-reviewed journal, or that a PhD scholar can't practice design and "make stuff" – once a faculty member is hired, the degree itself should not be an issue for promotion/tenure. Full disclosure: I have an MFA... and I do research, publish, and make stuff, too! :-) Side story, but related: When I co-edited an issue of Visible Language a couple years ago, my collaborator and I ran into the matter of author titles to accompany articles and use the table of contents. There were PhDs beginning their names with "Dr." on their manuscripts, some included MFA after their name, and there was an MA in the group too. It didn't seem right to include "Dr." with some names, because would we then use "Mr." or "Ms." for the others?! No way! To resolve this, we talked to a few of the authors and got their blessing to eliminate titles and degrees (but left them in author bios). This minimized the degree hierarchy and focused attention on people and their contributions. I guess that reflects how I feel about the PhD/MFA issue... it's about the scholarly work – whatever shape it takes – not the degree.
  5. hi Mitch, we did sophomore (and junior!) reviews for many years and recently decided to end that practice. Instead, we're implementing minimum grade benchmarks throughout the foundation-level courses (i.e., B or B- to continue in the program) starting AY 2018-19. I don't know if one way is better than the other – I think it depends on the program, degree paths, and culture within the program.
  6. @Mitchell Eismont Yes, workload hours translate to teaching contact hours – will email you!
  7. Kent State also has a strong AAUP faculty union and each dept/school has a handbook that outlines workload for that unit (subject to approval from deans and provost). Tenure-track and tenured faculty in our School of VCD are assigned 12 workload hours per semester and these hours are allocated through discussion between a faculty member and our school director. The workload is generally assigned to teaching but can also be distributed to research, administrative roles, curriculum development, certain service roles, or other responsibilities. For example, my workload hours this spring are distributed as 6 teaching, 4 research, and 2 administrative; this past fall, it was 12 teaching. Our system needs updating, particularly in that our tenure & promotion guidelines are increasingly focused on research, scholarship, and creative activity. Some activities that are time-consuming are not included in workload (i.e., graduate thesis advising, various committees). As a faculty, we're looking at ways to integrate research workload time more consistently from term to term. And so, we are in the process of revising our handbook language to reflect the current (and future) needs of our faculty and students.
  8. Peer-reviewed academic journals typically have a clear process for submissions, etc., However, I've noticed that this is not the norm for non-academic publications (i.e., Eye magazine or similar). Do any of you have experience with this? If so, how have you navigated article or essay submissions to those venues?
  9. @Brian Lucid Yes, definitely – as you mentioned earlier, it's influenced by career choice. If job postings specify IxD, that's what students will want to major in, and vice versa. Everything has a label. I'd like to change a degree program name to "Thing Design" just to see what happens, ha ha!
  10. We're somewhere between an R1/R2 and it varies based on college and department. In my program, we have very high research expectations and a lot of freedom. Our expectations for dissemination are broadly defined to include publishing, presenting, commissions, exhibiting, marketplace-driven products, and so forth. For tenure and promotion, our activities are evaluated in terms of metrics related to, for example, acceptance rates, level of recognition, and audience (international, national, etc).
  11. Should IxD be its own major? Maybe... I'm inclined to say yes (for all the reasons already stated), but at that same time, designers should be using the methods/technologies best suited to address a given problem. For this reason, a fluid and hybrid approach design education is important. The nature of visual communication design is shifting, and perhaps this is about reworking what we have rather than developing new programs?
  12. Hi RJ, I've found it difficult to get university-wide research grants at my university too. Part of the problem is our infrastructure, and the other part is probably me. Ha! At KSU, our university research council seed grants are offered in five "buckets" (i.e., reviewed by committees composed of faculty in these areas): social sciences, nursing, humanities, fine arts, and business. Guess what's missing? A design-oriented application could fit into any of those areas... but likely not really undestood well by any of them. It would be so helpful to learn more about grant writing for design faculty. For my colleagues in the sciences, grant writing is normalized. Seems like design culture hasn't quite gotten there yet.
  13. Thanks for mentioning us, Dan! Here's my lengthy response – happy to answer more questions, too: In our School of Visual Communication Design at Kent State, design research is integrated throughout our curricula. We have courses specific to design research, one within each of our degree programs (so, three total): MFA, MA, and BFA/BA. This started in our graduate program, and is now required for undergrads too. There are some differences among the courses, but generally they follow a similar model. First, various research methods are covered, and later in the semester, students tackle unframed design problems using those methods. The methods include ethnography, interviewing, surveys, card sorting, and frameworks for thinking, strategizing, and evaluating. Our MFA is geared toward human-centered communication design research, and that is threaded – in various ways/levels – throughout the first 18 credits of that program. The MA and BFA/BA programs are largely studio-based; design research methods support solutions to various projects.
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