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Professor Brunner received a Ph.D. in Education and a minor in Statistics, as well as a Masters of Fine Arts in Interior Design from Iowa State University. She has a Masters of Urban Planning and a Bachelors of Science in Architectural Studies from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Dr. Brunner has taught all levels of studios from freshmen foundations to graduate experimental studios. In addition, she has taught graduate and upper level undergraduate courses in research methods, design methods, and seminars in design theory and design thinking. Her research is heavily interdisciplinary, collaborating with education, business, engineering, statistics, psychology, and other design disciplines. Design thinking, student motivation, and predicting design student success have been a thread throughout her research initiatives. In addition, she in interested in how instructional technology can assist the design student in the design studio. Dr. Brunner was an Assistant and Associate Professor of Interior Design at Iowa State for 11 years prior to joining the faculty at Arizona State this fall.
Prior to a career in academics, Professor Brunner worked as a consultant in urban planning, as well as economic development and long-range planning in local government. She developed comprehensive plans and campus area redevelopment plans, as well as the national Main Street program. Much of her work in planning focused on being a liaison between the business community and the local planning organization.
Ph.D. Education, Iowa State University (2008)
MFA Interior Design, Iowa State University (2004)
Masters of Urban Planning (MUP), University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (1998)
Bachelor of Science in Architectural Studies, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (1993)
Dr. Brunners research is heavily interdisciplinary. She collaborates with education, business, engineering, statistics, psychology, and other design disciplines. Design thinking, student motivation, and predicting design student success have been a thread throughout her research initiatives. Her recent work is focused on alumni success in their careers since graduation and tracking successful design students over time. What can we learn about these high-achieving people who have earned the highest marks in school? Do they continue to be successful? If so, in what ways? Do these successful designers have similar traits as leaders in other disciplines? This line of research is similar to studies about high school valedictorians. Does the top of the class remain at the top over time? If so, in what ways?
In addition, Professor Brunner is interested in how instructional technology can assist the design student in the studio classroom. She is developing a digital learning tool for the design student to assist them in their studio work. Prototypes have been developed based upon research in design process, studio pedagogy, and cognitive psychology. Refinement of the learning tool and additional prototypes are being developed and evaluated, with an underlying question of how to balance the strengths of synchronous and asynchronous learning. How can one develop a digital learning tool for the design student who grew up as a digital native? How can a digital learning tool bridge the gap between the well-established studio pedagogy, and the instantaneous accessibility of digital media?