“I learned a lot from you. I made a lot of personal progress because of the way you teach. Thank you so much for being an inspiring teacher.” – Student
These are the programs in which I have taught, in approximate reverse chronological order.
“No one has inspired me to the extent you have or made me challenge my own thinking as you and the MPS program have. I am a better person because of your teaching.” – Student
I retired from my last position at the Shintaro Akatsu School of Design (SASD) at the University of Bridgeport as the Chairman of the MPS program in Design Management. Design management is a discipline developed in England that addresses business problems in ways that satisfy more than profitability.
We are in close proximity to and relationships with Fairfield County’s concentration of Fortune 500 corporate bases.
Our students are from several U.S. states, Bosnia, Brasil, China, England, Ghana, India, Iraq, Italy, Malasia, Mexico, Mongolia, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Syria, and Taiwan.
The thesis The thesis is a critical component of the Master of Professional Studies in Design Management degree. Coming at the end of the program, it demonstrates the thorough understanding of the principles of Design Management as they are applied to a self-selected problem. These are a selection of thesis topics completed, some of which also show posters prepared for a University-wide graduate research competition:
Branch360: A Sustainable Solution for Amputees and Prosthetic Clinics The status quo in prosthetic design is defined by an attempt to purely emulate anatomical function and aesthetic. This represents a missed opportunity: why emulate life when one can enhance it? By applying the principles of design thinking and human-centered design, we developed a prosthetic device that enables the user to accomplish daily tasks more efficiently than any other product on the market. Our solution provides a new model for how prosthetics can be designed, sold, and repurposed in a socially, fiscally, and environmentally sustainable way. This supports a meaningful share of the medical appliance field and makes prosthetics far more available to these customers.
Bridge the Gap Rethink current restoration efforts of Connecticut’s tidal salt marshes so coastal residents will be more receptive of them. Due to man-made and natural events, the salt marshes that protect Connecticut’s coastline have been severely damaged. Salt marshes protect Connecticut’s shoreline from storms and provide an irreplaceable ecosystem for the state’s entire length between New York and Rhode Island. The Connecticut state government in collaboration with shoreline organizations have developed plans to create processes to begin restoring the coastal salt marshes. Some of these proposals are considered unsightly by shoreline residents and their communities. Without their support, restoring salt marshes will be a far more difficult process. Our thesis will propose solutions that educate communities to the vital need for salt marshes both directly and regionally, to present solutions that they will accept, and to propose ways of assessing the solutions for their efficacy once they have been implemented.
Optimizing and Enhancing the Individual’s Role in the Recycling System Through Design Thinking As an effort to increase recycling in the United States, local governments adopted the single stream recycling system, in which different recycling materials are mixed during its initial collection. Although this resulted in an increase in the volume of recyclables deposited by individuals, it has also exponentially increased the cost to separate these recyclables to be sold for reuse. In order to reduce related costs of this recycling effort, it is fundamental to uncover the optimal function of the individual in this system. By using Design Thinking, this thesis will map out the current single stream recycling system to propose proactive ways individuals can contribute to streamlining it and to equip them with tools to make their participation more convenient.
UB Innovation Center To fulfill University needs by planning the restoration of an historical home by retrofitting the building to improve energy and environmental performance as a “smart building.” The building will become an academically important innovation center and will have an app developed for the University community that connects students to social and educational activities scheduled in the building, on campus, and in the city of Bridgeport. The University of Bridgeport owns eight historic homes, several of which have been renovated into hubs for activity for students an faculty. A few others remain vacant and unimproved. We considered each vacant building carefully and chose 82 Marina Park Street, formerly Darien Hall, a dormitory for law students. One reason is its 9-foor arched ceilings in the basement, making this an eminently usable fourth floor.
Saudi Interior Design Circle: A Complete Model to Start a Community for Interior Designers in Saudi Arabia The purpose of this thesis is to find out the best solution to join students, educators, professionals, and suppliers in the interior design field as well as to increase the perceived value of interior design in Saudi Arabia. The application of this thesis follows the Design Thinking methodology to achieve the best working solution. This thesis will empathize with users in order to define the clear problem. The thesis explores functional ideas and their implementation with a prototype of the solution. This thesis will give recommendations to test user outcomes to check the quality of the solution.
Smart STEAM: Redesigning the Student Experience The demand for innovative employees is growing every year, particularly for individuals equipped with high technical skills. In order for American children to be prepared to enter the workforce on a competitive level, children must have access to an integrated curriculum. The STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math) model introduces students to various integrated subjects to increase their critical thinking skills. In an effort to foster student engagement and increase student achievement, access to STEAM models should be adopted nationwide to enhance the learning process. Creating a website that provides tips, training, and instruction for students, teachers, and facilitators, while supporting implementation, will further that goal.
Students in the Design Management program work with clients on real problems each semester. The client presents business problems they face and the students address them – and other issues they uncover in their human-centered research – collaboratively in teams of three or four. The outcome is a comprehensive report with problems, solutions, and methods for implementing the recommended solutions. Our clients have included:
- AmeriCares, Stamford CT
- The City of Bridgeport Office of Planning and Economic Development, CT
- Bridgeport YMCA, CT
- Half Full Brewery, Stamford CT
- Hope for Haiti, Stamford CT
- Kubtec Digital X-Ray, Stratford CT
- MetroCrops, Bridgeport CT
- The Pelham Community Rowing Association, Pelham NY
- Stamford Innovation Center, Stamford CT
- Sun Products, Trumbull CT
- UrbanGlass, Brooklyn NY
We have bi-weekly Design Management guest lecturers. Their expertise and broad business perspectives add immeasurably to our understanding of what is possible and who our colleagues and constituents are. Guests include dozens of entrepreneurs and design strategists including:
- Robert Beleson, Chief Marketing Officer, Playboy Enterprises
- Ken Coulson, CEO, FutureBright, A Sustainability Holding Company
- Amy Cueva, Founding Partner, MadPow
- Spencer Curry, CEO, FreshFarm Aquaponics
- Adam Dotson, Ironwood Capital, Entrepreneur and Investment Consultant
- Gary van Duersen, Industrial Design Consultant
- Jay Ford, CFO, Splash Management Group
- Peter Gordon, CEO, LiteWater
- Jonathan Gouthier, Chief Creative Director, WITH Creative
- Amy Graver, Creative Director, Elements
- Ryan Johnson, CFO, Lovesac, Inc.
- Robert Kahn, Founding Partner, FutureBrand/McCann-Erickson
- Adam Kaplan, Adam Kaplan Creative/Brand Trainer
- Deb Kline, Creative Director, Group Four
- Zachary Kubin, VP Marketing, Sled
- Bob Kunkel, President, Alternative Marine Technologies
- Jerry Kuyper, Identity and Branding Maven
- Andrew Lathrop, Creative Director, Consultant
- David Lickstein, R&D Design Manager, Skin Products, Unilever
- Cheryl Miller, Contributing Editor, Print Magazine
- Jerid O’Connell, CEO, Fuel for Humanity
- Bahador Pazoki, Creative Director, Primacy
- Daniel Pelavin, Graphic Designers and Illustrator
- Robert Pietrzyk, Lead Design Strategist, Global Marketing, Unilever
- Carly Price, Partner, IDEO
- Brent Robertson, Partner, Fathom
- Dr Perry Robinson, VC Entrepreneur
- Ashley Schofield, Partner and Creative Director, Cline Davis & Mann
- Charles Silverman, Partner and CEO, Indigo6
- Laurel Syah, Head of Creative at The Shop at eBay Enterprise
- Adam Thatcher, Executive Director, Grace Farms, New Canaan
- Matt Wilber, CFO, Barteca Restaurant Group
“There are precisely two classes at Parsons that have helped me and yours is one of them. Thank you for being a truly inspiring teacher.” – Student
Parsons School of Design I taught in a graduate program at Parsons from 2003 to 2013. The students are highly motivated, talented, and eager to get good in a hurry. This is all a professor could hope for.
“I have improved 100% through your instruction. It has been noticed at work. Of all my college courses, this one has been the most beneficial.” – Student
The State University of New York at Westchester I taught a typography course at SUNY-W in the spring semester of the sophomore year from 2007-2010. This school has a diverse, multicultural student body.
“Because of your course, I had a choice of top schools! Thank you for helping me make great portfolio samples!” – Student
The MillerWhite School of Design offered advanced art and graphic design coursework whose purpose was to prepare students for professional art education in college. The faculty provided students with the same freshman design coursework offered at leading art schools (we know because we teach there), to help them develop an outstanding portfolio for art school acceptance. This school was a collaboration with Brian D. Miller.
“The best teacher I’ve had in college. He’s extremely hard but I’m glad he is.” – Student
FIT (The Fashion Institute of Technology) is a very large, very diverse professional art school that is both in the heart of the fashion district of Manhattan and a public university that is a jewel in the crown of the State University of New York (SUNY) system.
“I learned a lot about standards because yours are very high!” – Student
Manhattanville College This is a well-equipped department on a beautiful campus in the wooded suburbs of New York City. M’ville, as it is known locally, offers both the BFA and MFA degrees.
“Thank you so much for a fantastic graphic design course. Without your class I would not see the way I do now.” – Student
The City College of New York (CCNY) is said to have the most diverse student body of any college in the United States. That has to mean the world, but I can attest that the students with whom I worked were from everywhere. A vast majority were first generation immigrants, so they were in immediate touch with the opportunity college offered for their futures. I was regularly surprised by the extra effort and vision these students brought to our critique wall.
“I consider you the one professor who taught me type, how to use it, and to love it.” – Former student
The Hartford Art School is one of seven colleges in the University of Hartford. It is one of the two preeminent professional art schools between New York and Boston, and is one of the few professional programs fully embedded in a university, giving academic coursework full attention. HAS was founded in Hartford in 1877 by Harriet Beecher Stowe, Olivia Clemens (married to Samuel Langhorne Clemens or “Mark Twain”), Mary Bushnell Cheney (premiere silk weavers until the invention of Rayon in 1920), Elizabeth Colt (married to Samuel Colt, the firearms manufacturer) and Susan Warner as an independent art academy. It merged with the Hartt School of Music and Hillyer College in 1957, becoming the University of Hartford, and moved to its 350-acre location in the suburbs northwest of Hartford. The University now has 7,400 students from 45 states and 49 countries.
“KSU churns out fantastic designers: you taught me to be quite demanding of myself and my colleagues… I had a rock star KSU graphic design intern last year who exceeded my expectations!” – Former student
Kent State University is the potent mid-west graphic design program it is because of its growth under j. Charles Walker and John Buchanan. I studied as an undergrad at KSU – with a break at Parsons my junior year – and returned to teach there for two years after graduate school. Foreign study was all but expected of everyone and the for-profit Glyphix studio experience has shaped many. The success of a program can be measured by how many graduates go on to teach at prestigious programs around the country.
“You have great passion for teaching and learning and it is contagious. This wasn’t an easy semester, but it was a really valuable one!” – Student
Syracuse University is a medium-to-large sized (20,000 students) private university in the snow belt of upstate New York. The “Cuse” developed the leading advertising design program in the northeast – and probably in the country – back in the 1950s and 1960s, in part because of its relative proximity to Madison Avenue, and has grown handsomely ever since. The ad design program, part of the College of Visual and Performing Arts (“the center of cultural life on campus”), is complemented by the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, home of S.U.’s advertising program. I had a full Teaching Assistantship and taught graphic design and Intro to Advertising Design courses in my two years on campus, earning top “Double A” ratings in the student Guide to Professors.
“You were one of my most memorable professors. I still show one of the projects from your class!” – Former student
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is part of the mighty Big Ten (Eleven, Twelve…) conference. Sometimes known as The University of Chief Illiniwek since the Chief’s “retirement,” this university has an excellent School of Art and Design and a student body numbering 43,000, which definitely qualifies it as a large school. I had a Teaching Assistantship in my graduate school days there and absolutely loved working with my students. The students at this school have as much pride in their institution as I believe is possible: Oskiwawa!