Susan Stirling uses research methods to help solve problems and inspire change in both her design practice and teaching roles. She has been an Adjunct Faculty member of IIT’s Institute of Design (ID) since 2017, currently co-teaching Facilitation Methods with Sari Gluckin. She is also an Adjunct Associate Professor in Design Research at the UIC School of Design (since 2014) and a project director at the UIC Innovation Center (since 2018). Additionally, she serves as a team coach/mentor with Design for America (DfA). Susan taught in the Art + Design program of Columbia College, Chicago, from 2013 to 2015, and she was a Convergence Academies Fellow there in 2014–15. She also joined with the Archeworks New Practice team to help develop a digital media center (Digital Atelier) in an underserved Chicago Public Schools high school (2014–15); following the project’s success, the team developed a toolkit to replicate the inclusive planning and design process in other schools. Susan received a Master of Design Methods (MDM) degree from ID and a Bachelor of Science in Art from University of Wisconsin–Madison.
As an independent design consultant, researcher, and strategist since 2009, Susan has focused on user-centered design research and methods such as observation, surveys, interviews, and workshops. In this role Susan synthesizes data, identifies key insights, and develops design strategies based on the business goals of her clients, who include Omron (2015), Wrigley (2015), and Steelcase Applied Research and Consulting (2009–15). Prior to that, Susan was a design manager at Pearson Scott Foresman in Glenview, IL (2001–08).