Specialization versus generalization in design education: where to draw the line?



Design Education Strategy


  • design professionalism, curriculum


When new media and interactive design were added to the traditional graphic design curriculum at the University of Potchefstroom this year, I became keenly aware of the current complexties in the industry and the difficulties involved in teaching students a wide range of specialized skills with limited funds, limited expertise and in limited time. I certainly sensed what Lorianne Justice termed the ‘big squeeze’ when she refered to the ever expanding knowledge base that needs to be accommodated in limited time in current design curriculums (Justice 2000: 49).

This paper is based on my perceptions of the current state of design related professions and its implications for design education that evolved during the process of implementation of new media at the University of Potchefstroom. What follows, is intended to serve as a discussion paper to prompt debate and exchange of ideas on the topic of generalization versus specialization in design education. 

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