About us

We are nationally and internationally recognized for our faculty, and our programs rank among the top 20 design schools in the country.

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About The Design School at ASU

Welcome to The Design School

The Design School is the largest, most comprehensive and collaborative design school in the country. Located within Arizona State University, one of the nation’s largest and fastest growing universities, our school has approximately 55 full-time faculty and 1,500 students. The Design School offers degrees in architecture, environmental design, industrial design, interior design, landscape architecture, urban design, and visual communication (graphic) design. 

Our school brings together all of these design disciplines, with one unified faculty, working together to create a new vision of how we educate the next generation of designers. The school’s collaborative structure fosters innovation through the integration of expertise among academic units, university-based research, and practitioners.

The Design School plays an important role within the community it serves. As a public professional school, we have a responsibility to contribute to the public good. Our success, and the success of our graduates, directly translates into a better future for the greater metropolitan area - and the world.

 

Our Mission

To educate future designers, to shape collaborations, synthesize complexity, and catalyze transformation for public good.

Our Vision

The Design School will serve as the pre-eminent institution for transdisciplinary design education and research, integrating the innovative methods and practices of the disciplines of architecture, interior design, industrial design, landscape architecture and visual communication design to empower local and global communities to better comprehend, re-imagine and steward the built environment. 

Our Values

The following are the values by which The Design School operates. 

Socially Embedded and Sustainable
The Design School (TDS) will fulfill ASU’s promise to leverage our place and transform society through community engaged teaching, research and creative activities.  We celebrate the complex histories that surround us, are experts in sustainable techniques, and are contextually responsive and embrace the intuitive knowledge of a place to build social good and a more sustainable world.  Our work embraces the power of design to partner with communities to transform society in positive ways, making visible impacts and building social awareness.

Innovation and Impactful
TDS lives up to the promise of ASU’s innovative mission by being creative, driven, agile and pioneering in design education. Our optimistic and inquisitive attitude balances innovation and tradition with progressive and forward-thinking curriculum, research and creativity practice.

Excellent and Interdisciplinary

TDS will both provide excellent disciplinary teaching in design fundamentals, and nurture interdisciplinary teaching, research, scholarship and creative activities.  These future-facing activities will be informed by the history of design and advance a collective body of interdisciplinary knowledge across ASU and the design field through a variety of partnerships and collaborations both inside and outside the School. 

Collaborative and Student Centered

TDS is a collaborative, teamwork based environment, that emphasizes unity and working together. Clear communication and flexibility with different working styles are valued. We work together to empower students to learn and succeed, delivering excellent service by creating a collaborative supportive environment.

Respectful and Collegial

TDS is a respectful and collegial environment in all interactions (in person and online).  Faculty and staff are accommodating, empathetic and have respect for other people’s viewpoints, cultural backgrounds and schedules.  TDS is a supportive, adaptable environment that celebrates success and works with kindness, peace, tolerance, understanding and compassion.

Equitable & Inclusive

TDS is an open and equitable environment that is inclusive and values and encourages diversity. Fairness is paramount and impartial decisions are made with respect to gender, race, age, physical ability, sexual orientation and other forms of diversity.

Transparent and Accountable

TDS faculty and staff will work with integrity, transparency and be accountable to the students, design professions, the University and world. We are committed to be reliable and responsive to our constituents, working with rigor and trust to explore ethical solutions to problems.

 

History

Located within one of the nation's largest and fastest growing universities and set in the context of one of the country's most rapidly urbanizing metropolises, The Design School is engaging in a new paradigm for teaching and research in the 21st century.

During 1949–50, James Elmore, the founding dean of the College of Architecture and Environmental Design, now called The Design School, suggested that ASU develop a two-year technical architecture program to "play the role of a forceful pioneer" in Arizona. During the 1950s, the program was first called the Division of Architecture, in the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences and began offering the bachelor of architecture degree in the fall of 1957.

In its first ten years, the student body grew from 45 to 142 and full-time faculty from two to five members. In 1958, the program was renamed the School of Architecture. The first professional degree was awarded in May 1960. In January 1961, the college's first professional accreditation was granted. By the end of the second decade, the student body had grown to 407 with a full-time faculty of 21 members. On July 1, 1964, the school became the College of Architecture.

Through the next decade, the design disciplines grew and diversified in the study of architecture, industrial design, interior design and landscape architecture. In 1977–78, the college was officially reorganized into three separate departments: Architecture, Design Sciences, and Planning. The Department of Design Sciences included Industrial Design and Interior Design, which moved from the Department of College of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and Home Economics respectively. In 1983, the name of the college was changed to the College of Architecture and Environmental Design to more accurately reflect the depth and breadth of design and planning studies within its programs.

In 1989, the Department of Design Sciences was renamed the School of Design. The graphic design program joined the school in June 1996, moving from the School of Art. In July 2004, the landscape architecture program moved to the School of Architecture, and the school was renamed the School of Architecture + Landscape Architecture.

In 2005, the Departments of Industrial Design, Interior Design and Visual Communication Design were established, the School of Design disestablished and the name of the College of Architecture and Environmental Design was changed to the College of Design. In November 2008, the School of Design Innovation was established with the faculty of Industrial Design, Interior Design and Visual Communication Design as one administrative unit again.

In April 2009, the Arizona Board of Regents created the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts. This merger combined the College of Design with the Herberger College of Fine Arts. In 2010, the School of Design Innovation merged with the School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture to create The Design School.

Today, The Design School has 52 faculty, 1425 students and offers 14 degrees.