School of Art, Media, and Technology

AMT Associate Dean and CD Faculty Lucille Tenazas on Design Education

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Lucille Tenazas, Associate Dean and Henry Wolf Professor in the School of Art, Media and Technology at Parsons The New School for Design, and Communication Design Faculty, shares her philosophy on design education on Design Indaba.

The article makes it crystal clear why we are so lucky to have Tenazas teaching here, as she walks us through her history and experience, and how that inspires her to help develop in her students a design point-of-view shaped by their own personal histories. She also dives into her views on the “designer as cultural nomad,” the element of chance as a design issue, the role of the designer to arrive at a condition, assess it and to explore the possibilities, and the design thinking process as a journey of self discovery.

Over many years of teaching, I have developed a teaching methodology refer to as Vital Curriculum. Vital, meaning life and curriculum, meaning structure, so a life system. It emphasizes a process that deals with the issue of personal voice or authorship within the discipline of design. I am interested in developing in my students a point of view shaped by their personal history. I feel that if you are aware of whom you are, then you can ultimately take on the identities and problems a client may pose, yet not lose your own voice. Vital Curriculum is the manifestation of my design thinking, which I turned into a design educator’s philosophy… how can I get my students to think like this?

Please read the entire, though-provoking article here (as well as a few other goodies in the sidebar). is the online culmination of the Design Indaba experience, serving as a one-stop design portal for highly curated, bespoke multimedia content on global creative industries. The Design Indaba conference is an annual gathering of creative thought leaders and features the broader creative industries and innovation.

Image: Denny Henry

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