chapter  5
Connecting Classrooms and Publics
The University of California, Davis, Center for Design in the Public Interest
WithSusan Verba, Sarah Perrault, Tracy Manuel
Pages 11

The University of California, Davis (UC Davis), offers a Bachelor of Arts degree that emphasizes critical thinking, visual literacy, and foundational skills in various design areas, and a Master of Fine Arts that combines design theory and creative practice to prepare graduates for leadership jobs in academia, the design industry, and/or entrepreneurial opportunities. This chapter describes how public interest design tenets are integrated into a senior capstone class, Design for Understanding (DES 159), and a graduate seminar, Professional Practice and Ethics (DES 223), and how classes are connected to work at the UC Davis Center for Design in the Public Interest (DiPi). Design for Understanding explores principles of effective information display, user-centered research, and iterative design prototyping in projects that address unmet social design needs. Professional Practice and Ethics investigates issues of professional design practice including agency, ethics, and social responsibility. DiPi brings together interdisciplinary teams to solve public problems through design and to explore new methods in design practice and pedagogy.