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Two VPA design programs ranked among top 10 in nation by DesignIntelligence

November 10, 2011

Erica Blust
(315) 443-5891

Two undergraduate design programs in Syracuse University’s College of Visual and Performing Arts (VPA) have been ranked among the top 10 in the nation in the 2012 DesignIntelligence report “America’s Best Architecture & Design Schools.” DesignIntelligence is the Design Futures Council’s bimonthly report on the future.

VPA’s industrial and interaction design program was ranked No. 3 in the nation for undergraduate industrial design programs. The college’s environmental and interior design program was ranked No. 10 in the nation for undergraduate interior design programs.

Both programs are housed in VPA’s Department of Design. The industrial and interaction design faculty includes Kathleen Brandt, assistant professor and program coordinator, and faculty members Don Carr, Denise Heckman, Cas Holman, Jonathan Mills, John Truex and Sharon LaBella. The environmental and interior design faculty includes Lucinda Havenhand, associate professor and chair of the Department of Design; Sarah Redmore, assistant professor and program coordinator; and faculty members Ruth Westervelt, Jennifer Hamilton, Zeke Leonard, Zoriana Dunham, Dennis Earle and Tim Brower.

“Our programs do well in the rankings because we have faculty and students who are continuously challenging the boundaries of what design is and what it can be,” says Havenhand. “We create innovative problem-solvers in our programs who are highly valued in professional practice. “

“We are pleased to see our program rise in the DesignIntelligence rankings,” says Brandt. “It is a confirmation that our recent efforts to bolster the program's focus on theory combined with practice in a socially and environmentally responsible approach are having a positive impact among our graduates, as well as the external perception of who we are.”

"I am very proud to be part of a dynamic and diverse faculty team,” says Redmore. “Our interior design program was established 90 years ago, and we have a strong legacy, but we maintain our national ranking because we are willing to respond to the changing needs of our world. While we acknowledge our past, we also celebrate our future and the forward-thinking approach to creative problem-solving."

The DesignIntelligence study ranks undergraduate and graduate programs from the perspective of leading practitioners. Selected professional practice leaders with direct experience hiring and supervising the performance of recent architecture and design graduates are invited to participate in the research. Survey participants, who are drawn from a database of leading firms throughout the United States, were asked the question, “In your firm’s hiring experience in the past five years, which schools are best preparing students for success in the profession?” They were also queried about additional issues, such as how programs rate in teaching various skills.

The Design Futures Council is an interdisciplinary network of design, product and construction leaders exploring global trends, challenges and opportunities to advance innovation and shape the future of the industry and environment. Members include leading architecture and design firms, dynamic manufacturers, service providers and forward-thinking AEC firms of all sizes that take an active interest in their future.

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