Interdisciplinary Global Innovation - Andrea L Quam, Pete Evans, Mike Ford

Interdisciplinary Global Innovation, Andrea L Quam, Pete Evans, and Mike Ford

A Model for Interdisciplinary Innovation in Education
Preparing students for a global future of design problem solving

Andrea Quam,Associate Professor of Graphic Design
Peter Evans,Assistant Professor of Industrial Design
Mike Ford,Assistant Professor of Practice Interior Design
Iowa State University

Abstract from 2021 SEGD Communication + Place
This paper will share an interdisciplinary design class taught three times as a case study for excellence in experiential learning and design. In this study, student teams of architecture, graphic, industrial, and interior design majors were created to address a semester-long project.

Each team developed unique design proposals for design with a human-centered, experiential focus. This classroom scenario simulates situations in professional practice, where interdisciplinary practitioners are brought together to elevate design solution outcomes. As a case study, this studio experience explores a unique approach to preparing students for involved, global teamwork in future practice, by the range of disciplines involved, the distinct pedagogical framework, interaction with professional design practitioners, and integration  of a study-abroad component. This pedagogical approach has been successfully replicated and refined over three consecutive years at Iowa State University’s (ISU) College of Design. ISU’s design college is known for its well-established range of disciplines under one roof. It was cited by 2019 NASAD reviewers as demonstrating  “the most successful examples of interdisciplinary instruction” they had seen. 

Read more in the 2021 SEGD Communication + Place journal and other papers at

Communication + Place is the official research journal of the Experiential Graphic Design community. Published online, the journal features articles from both academics and professionals advancing the XGD profession through creative research, curriculum development, project reviews, and user-centric testing.