I feel that the Liberal arts were beneficial to me because I was able to transfer concepts from general study areas to my designs. “A strong foundation in the liberal arts will help utilize communication skills and strengthen these information-gathering and research skills” (Baseman, 2004). So the challenge is to find a way to include the liberal arts without distracting from valuable time for learning design theory and thinking, software skills, and portfolio composition. Should design students specialize in one design discipline? But when many undergraduate students are new to design, how can they know what area they want to focus in? Specialisation will narrow an entry-level designer’s options. “It is important to receive a broad undergraduate education, working between different media and a range of communication problems” (McCoy & McCoy, 2006). One way a more rigorous curriculum could take effect, without having to lengthen it or require stricter acceptance standards, is by increasing problem-based or work-based learning in project assignments. To maximize the time within the classroom, problem based learning could be facilitated by increasing group-based projects in and among courses. Because of the large numbers of students enrolled in graphic design programs, instructors are unable to spend as much time with individual students as they would like. By playing the role of facilitator rather than teacher, they can oversee group projects that require students to collaborate with students from other departments. They will simultaneously be exposing students to interdisciplinary experiences that emulate the real world of design. And if work-based learning with clients via partner firms or agencies is possible, a collective effort between the profession and educators is necessary.
Perhaps there is no one best solution for creating the ultimate curriculum. But as designers and design educators, we can continue to strive for continuous efforts to make innovative improvements both in the curricula and beyond. I’m convinced that the best way, the only way forward, is by taking responsibility for one’s own design education. Being a successful designer requires a continuous effort to learn, and this sort of attitude should be instilled by design educators.