Virginia Tech

Bridging Social Networking and Professional Practice: A Catalyst for Professional Development and Integrated Design Practice

Leigh Lally
Virginia Tech

ABSTRACT
Social networking has quickly become synonymous with professional development. The architecture and design industry has the opportunity to harness this movement in new and creative ways in its drive toward integrated design practices. Integrated design1* practice by definition must serve the individual design discipline while engaging in a community of practice toward a common project goal. This research initiative is spurred by leaders in the field who indicate that a swift transformation to integrated design practice is required in the discipline in order for architecture and design practice to remain relevant in today’s global economy. Bridging architectural and design research and environmental graphic design provide the opportunity for both a broad and a distinct view of integrated design practice. Current research can inform the environmental graphic design discipline of best practices that promote excellence in design and professional practice as well as multi-disciplinary collaboration as an EGD core competency. As a researcher and practitioner, I am excited to engage the EGD community in dialog about innovative venues for knowledge sharing toward professional development and integrated design practices. As a campus designer and planner charged with EGD and the wayfinding master plan for the university, I understand the need for multi-disciplinary collaboration at a project level, as well as the challenges of timely professional development in a rapidly changing field. As a Ph.D. candidate my research focuses on harnessing social networking as a vehicle for collaborative learning which can be applied both at the design industry level as well as at the scale of an individual discipline such as environmental graphic design.

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