Insight from Academia: The Evolving Profession of a Social Impact Designer

An email from the NEA with a list of Social Impact Design webinars flew into my inbox and I saw that the last one was on education. “Oh, great,” I thought. “More theoretical bullshit, siloed thinking, and disconnected projects.”

But I was wrong (and ignorant,) and I am VERY happy to say that.

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Bill Drenttel, Liz Gerber, Charlie Cannon, and Mike Weikart made me want to go back to school. They presented projects with real solutions, like the Real Food Farm and Status Update (4:00). They talked about metrics (51:18). They had examples of the varied, non-traditional design roles graduates are taking up (32:10).

By the end of the webinar I was so excited about the education system! And this is from someone who has sworn off returning to academics (or what I thought that was about–now I have a different mindset.)

It made me envious of the collaborations, skills, and real-world projects students are undertaking, along with the instructors–or facilitators–who are creating these programs.

So you should watch and listen to the webinar if:

  1. You are disenchanted with education.

  2. You think students and professors are disconnected.

  3. You want to insert your foot in your mouth for saying these things.

  4. Or, you simply want to hear an engaging and energizing talk that will make you want to do something.

What are your thoughts on the webinar? Did you like it? Anything missing?

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