With the NFL’s new rules about how the league views and deals with its own student-athletes, many colleges and universities have begun to rethink their own student design programs.
But they don’t have to.
Here are some tips for keeping your design program from becoming an expensive, time-consuming process.
If you want to keep your design degree or internship program, here’s what you need to know.1.
Keep it short and sweetThe best way to keep students focused and engaged is to keep them focused on what they’re doing.
“We’re not talking about a four-year college degree,” says Amanda Smith, associate dean for student learning at Ohio State University.
“You’re working with a group of people, working with people who know each other and are all working on the same projects.
There are not two or three things that you should have to spend a lot of time on.”
Instead, “I always tell them, ‘You can do this, and you can do that, and we can go to the movies or something,'” she says.
“They’re all going to be happy with it.
It’s like a little project that we can all work on together.”2.
Get students to take your work seriouslyOnce you’ve built a good base of design skills, it’s time to start thinking about what to do next.
“Once they’re done with the school, they should come back to me and say, ‘Hey, I have to start working on something,'” says Smith.
“I think you want the students to be invested in what you’re doing and excited about working with you.
So, I want them to be aware of what I’m working on, how long it takes, and the types of things I’m going to ask for.”3.
Ask questions and be preparedIf you’re going to have to ask students questions or ask them about their work, make sure you have the appropriate training and resources to answer those questions.
“A lot of students will be frustrated by this,” says Smith, who says she’s worked with about 60 students who were upset that they didn’t get any of the required training and had to go to a website for it.
“And a lot are really interested in doing their own work, and I’m sure they would love to know, ‘Here’s how it’s going to work.'”
If you want your students to feel like they’re part of the process, you need them to understand you’re not just going to sit back and wait for them to do their thing.
“What you’re asking them to think about is going to make it easier for them,” says Dr. Robert L. Davis, a professor of education and faculty development at the University of Illinois.
“So, the first thing they should do is ask themselves, ‘What are the steps I’m taking?
What are the ideas I’m putting forward?’
Then they can go out and build on those ideas.”
“You want them doing the work, but it’s not necessarily a one-size-fits-all approach,” says Davis.
“It’s a way of thinking, ‘I’m doing this work because it’s part of my portfolio.'”4.
Have a goalThe second piece of advice to follow is to think outside the box.
“The best thing I ever learned from my students is to not be like, ‘Okay, we’re going in a certain direction,’ but rather, ‘We’re going through this process together,'” says Davis, who advises institutions to “have a goal that’s not a set of requirements.”
“A lot people think they’re going into design school thinking, What do I want to do?
What do they want to look like?” says Davis of the “do you want a certain look?
Do you want this?” questions that students are often asked.
“These questions are very important because they’re helping them learn about themselves, and that can make all the difference.”5.
Make sure students know what they’ll need to make a living after school”Design school is not a job,” says Lacey Johnson, director of design at the Cleveland Clinic, who has helped many design students get jobs as freelancers.
“Design is a skill.”
“They’re going out there with a very specific project and you’re creating a logo,” she says of the students who come to the clinic.
“If I were a student at Ohio Valley, I would be looking for a job.
I would look at a project, but I would also be asking the students, ‘Why do you think you’re making this?'”
If you are having difficulty recruiting students for design jobs, consider this: “I would tell you that the best way you can get students to think is to be clear about what you want them, what they want the experience to be,” says Johnson.
“There’s no need for them [to] think that you’re looking for their