A Message from the Dean

A Message from the Dean

Since our founding as the New Bauhaus in 1937, the Institute of Design (ID) has played an outsized role in the history of design. Now we are shaping its future.

Our purpose
We are in an era ripe with both possibilities and challenges. To address these, the world needs new ways forward, charged with the optimism, imagination, and confidence that embolden leaders, organizations, and communities to discard stagnant thinking and take action.

Inspired by the vision of our founder, László Moholy-Nagy, we work to grow the constructive abilities of society, developing leaders who provide innovative solutions to today’s most pressing issues. We pursue “the challenge of technical progress with its recognition of social responsibility.”

Our approach
The only design school in the US devoted completely to graduate students, our tightknit community includes more than 20 design educators, practitioners, and researchers who focus on 100 students a year.

To instill in our students the courage and the competencies necessary to ideate, identify, and integrate solutions, we focus on three core design tenets:

  • Human-centered design, which drives our optimism. Humanist and future-oriented, we are moving beyond empathy to human advocacy, working to ensure that emerging technologies deliver more just, sensible, and equitable solutions.
  • Systems-based design, which is our complexity buster. By understanding systems, we devise interventions that have the greatest potential to actually drive change. Bringing communities, stakeholders, and experts together, we synthesize shared value solutions to maximize collective action and acceptance.
  • Design doing, which goes beyond design thinking. In addition to developing concepts and interventions, today’s designers must lead the implementation, activation, and adoption of those concepts and interventions.

To support our students’ ability to function as integrators on cross-functional teams and in diverse communities, we have enhanced our curriculum with leadership development and expanded our practical training opportunities with corporations and social enterprises in Chicago and beyond.

Our community
Our faculty represent a wide range of leading design theorists, methodologists, and practitioners, and our accomplished students and alumni demonstrate incredible impact across a broad range of fields.

As management consultants and entrepreneurs, systems designers and design strategists, social innovators and corporate leaders, we lead significant, strategic impact across the private, social and public sectors. With better than 90% placement rates, it’s clear that more and more industries, organizations, and leaders recognize the need for the kind of design and innovation we teach and practice.

At ID, we believe design can enhance every aspect of life. The ID community—our students, alumni, faculty, and staff—stand ready to deliver on this. I invite you to join us.

—Denis Weil (MDes 2001)
Dean
IIT Institute of Design