Dean’s Words

For an excellent designer, design is never a simple professional problem. Design is a thorough creative work, even a way of life. As a profession, it is difficult to define whether the nature or the boundary of design. Therefore, perhaps the particularity of design education is that it is different from the traditional meaning of “professional education”. To some extent, we can say that there is a great contradiction and conflict between the so-called design education under the traditional concepts and education mode and the training goal of excellent design talents. For this reason, it may be easier for us to understand why the ranking of design education majors in some Chinese universities has been rising in the international disciplines in recent years, but the gap between the actual level of design education and the international advanced level has not changed substantially on the whole. As our school goals and methods become more and more utilitarian, the fundamental tasks and responsibilities of student growth and talent cultivation in university have almost been forgotten.

The core educational concept established by the School of Design of East China Normal University for itself is “humanity design”, which not only embodies the profound historical and cultural heritage of East China Normal University, but also, more importantly, humanity design will become an inevitable choice and development trend of Chinese design towards the future. The humanity design we advocate is to integrate design with humanities, nature, science and technology and commerce. It is not only embodied in our curriculum, but also throughout our entire teaching process. The internationalization of school running based on the establishment of the Global Academy of Design Institutions and the full major coverage of “the undergraduate and postgraduate double degree joint program”, and the establishment of teaching content and mode of Industry- University-Research integration based on project practice, are the landmark achievements of the School of Design in the reform of teaching and personnel training mode in recent years. Aiming at the problems of fragmented teaching mode of design professional knowledge, serious disconnection between theory and practice, narrow cultural and international perspectives, and serious lack of training of design values, the School of Design of East China Normal University insists on the basic orientation of demand, problems, goals, processes and results, and creates a brand-new “1+1+1” design teaching and personnel training model and system, namely “Reform of Course System, Teaching Mode and Teaching Quality Management System + Internationalization of School Running + Construction of Innovation and Entrepreneurship Platform for College Students Based on Project Practice”. After years of practice accumulation, it has achieved a series of substantive results. It ranks among the top domestic art colleges in terms of international awards for students’ works, participation in top international professional exhibitions, master admission rate of international famous art and design colleges for undergraduates, entrepreneurship and employment rate of students, acquisition of design patents, market conversion rate of design achievements, and number of students participating in major research and design projects.

The success of design education depends not only on the teaching of professional knowledge, but also on stimulating students’ passion for life and creativity. On the contrary, to cultivate a person with professional knowledge without correct values and aesthetic judgment is really dangerous to the society, catastrophic in the name of schools in batches. The only way to design education is to pursue the best and the most beautiful, and to advocate independent thinking, creative thinking, free creation, quality pursuit and responsibility.

WEI Shaonong
Dean of School of Design, ECNU

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