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ERIC Number: ED539271
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 253
Abstractor: As Provided
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-2671-7688-2
Anticipation and Action in Graduate-Level Design Programs: Building a Theory of Relationships among Academic Culture, Professional Identity and the Design of the Teaching Environment
Littlejohn, Deborah Kathleen
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, North Carolina State University
This research concerns the culture of design education in the context of great change in the social and professional conditions of practice. Findings illuminate interrelationships among pedagogy, professional identity and the design of the instructional setting in programs that teach visual communication and interaction design. Participants' descriptions of their integrating research methods, collaborative skills and interdisciplinary coursework in the design curriculum provided insight into the ways in which academic culture--through the design of the teaching environment--enables and inhibits a programs' ability to adapt and respond effectively to new conditions of practice. Data was collected from four U.S. graduate design programs--including interviews, existing documents and observations--and systematically analyzed using grounded theory coding and memoing. The core category that emerged was "transactive integration" with core subcategories "transactive perspective" and "transactive alignment." Three major categories became oriented around the core: "external engagement," "mediating meanings" and "transparency." Connections were made in the literature to extant theories in the areas of geographic pragmatism, perceptual affordance, situated learning and activity theory. These domains share a concern with how individuals and groups learn through social interactions with others and their environment. The understanding of "transactive integration" that emerged from the data was revealed through program descriptions of teaching practices and educational objectives and values regarding faculty views about design education and the profession. The numerous categories, properties and dimensions of "transactive integration" pointed to situational factors such as adaptive curriculum, "low walls-no barriers" and teaching environments designed to provide diverse opportunities for faculty to interact with colleagues outside of their program and field. This dissertation contributes to the literature on design education by proposing an ecological model of the teaching environment that emphasizes the contextual, relational and diverse nature of academic life in design education. It adds to our understanding of processes that shape faculty relationships and the ways in which teaching environments can become better coordinated between internal educational objectives and external conditions of practice. These processes promote sensemaking, transformation and engagement. The knowledge gained from this study suggested implications for further research that could increase the field's level of awareness about beliefs and behaviors that significantly affect the ability to adapt and remain relevant. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A