The University of Kentucky (UK) and the College of Design invite applications for the position of inaugural Director of the new Product Design Program. This position provides a unique opportunity to help shape and influence a new program as the College prepares to move into a state-of-the-art facility. Further, the University of Kentucky was recently recognized on the Forbes list of "Best Employers for Diversity" in 2020. We are committed to increasing the proportion of our faculty from historically underrepresented groups, and we encourage such candidates to apply.
The College of Design is currently poised for significant growth and change, and one of the new key initiatives is a Bachelor of Science in Product Design. The College plans to launch the program, taking its first cohort of students Fall 2020. Under the College’s new leadership, we are in the design phase of a new state-of-the-art facility, which includes expanded fabrication labs. The College is acting on the directive to expand design education at the University through the addition of new programs and new faculty lines across the College. The University of Kentucky seeks forward-thinking faculty who can leverage the College’s reputation and strengths alongside existing programs that are also advancing toward an expansive future (architecture, interior design, historic preservation, and urban & environmental design). In Fall of 2022, the Product Design Program, along with the entire college, will occupy the new building. The College of Design has partnered with world-renowned architect and MacArthur Fellow Jeanne Gang for this adaptive reuse project of the Reynolds Building, a 140,000=square=foot former tobacco warehouse. This building was built in 1917 and is located in a growing innovation district on the boundary of city and campus, which includes the School of Art and Visual Studies, the College of Education, and room for future campus development.
Why create a product design program at UK? No institution of higher education in the Commonwealth of Kentucky offers a degree in industrial or product design. And therein lies our advantage: all necessary variables for a successful product design program are already in place at the University of Kentucky. The juxtaposition of the engineering and healthcare colleges ensures our cross-collaboration will make us distinctive in the United States. Our competitive opportunity lies in the current – and growing – demand for specialized product designers. As we launch this new program, the Department of Biomedical Engineering (BME) is also launching a new undergraduate degree that has a design emphasis. Their new curriculum includes several courses from the Product Design curriculum, which creates intrinsic collaboration between the two student cohorts. A near future graduate degree in Product Design will further enhance shared opportunities between the two programs and other programs across campus.
The proposed product design curriculum includes a modular group of courses with variable credit that allows for an intensive, specialized investigation of advanced topics (both at the undergraduate and future graduate level). "Modular" refers to smaller and more flexible units of credit. This nimble subset of the curriculum allows the program to respond to the growing trend of specialization within the profession. The concept allows faculty to develop short courses related to niche or research interests that are beyond the required curriculum. Further, students are able to suggest special topics for deeper dives into contemporary ideas/materials/trends. Module categories include: Design Competencies (e.g., furniture design, packaging, typography, animation, etc.); Design Management (e.g., project budget, team organization, design for manufacturing, etc.); Social Impact & Innovation (e.g., service learning, humanitarian design, community health, etc.); Advanced Materials & Processes (e.g., mobile app development, sensors, Arduino, Raspberry Pi, coding for designers, robotics, smart textiles, VR/AR/AI, etc.); Professional Development (e.g., public speaking, portfolio, web development, etc.); and Healthcare (e.g., healthcare systems (ICU, ER), assistive devices, clinical observation, medical devices, point-of-care instruments, etc.). At the undergraduate level these modules serve to enhance studios and the senior thesis, and/or combine to form future undergraduate certificates.
The Program Director, who will report to the Dean of the College of Design, is responsible for the overall academic, administrative, and fiscal leadership of the Product Design Program. The Program Director will provide leadership in defining the strategic priorities and vision for the program and to enhance its visibility, brand, and reputation. In this role, the Program Director will be responsible for continuing to advance and strengthen degree programs; foster excellence in teaching, research, and engagement; build the program’s enrollment; oversee the hiring of new faculty during the inaugural 4 years; advance innovation and multidisciplinary activities and work collaboratively with the Assistant Dean for Finance to effectively manage program resources. The Program Director should promote a diverse work and learning environment that fosters entrepreneurship, growth, collaboration, and shared governance.
Candidates should demonstrate through evidence in their dossiers an understanding of: curriculum development and assessment of professional education programs in design; scholarly interests of a research university and the design research responsibilities of its faculty; outreach obligations of a land grant institution and the potential for designers to work with the community; and strategies through which contemporary design programs engage the profession and through which academic programs address an evolving professional context for design.
Ideal candidates will have background to shape the new program’s educational vision. While the base curriculum is developed, the inaugural Director is expected to edit and refine the curriculum as each year of the degree evolves and to assist in submitting the new graduate degree and any associated certificates and minors determined to enhance the program. In addition, candidates should have an interest in interdisciplinary approaches to teaching and research.
The position commences August 1, 2020 and includes an eleven or twelve month contract at the rank of associate or full professor. Salary is competitive and based on qualifications and experience. Candidates should demonstrate the potential for successful university teaching, an active research and/or design portfolio, and collegial participation in service activities.
Interested candidates must complete an online application, including the names of three (3) references, and include the following documents:
1) A letter of intent that addresses the listed qualifications (Cover Letter)
2) Curriculum Vitae
3) Statement of Teaching Philosophy (Specific Request 1)
4) A PDF file with samples of professional work and student work, or a website address (Specific Request 2)
Review of applications begins on February 26, 2020 and will continue until the position is filled. Questions regarding the position should be directed to Mitzi Vernon, Dean of the College of Design: email@example.com or Charlotte Leedy, Executive Administrative Assistant: firstname.lastname@example.org or (859) 257-7619.
For more information about the College of Design and the University of Kentucky, please visit: