About the Department of Applied Design

Mission Statement

The Department of Applied Design is dedicated to fostering excellence in design education, design research, and professional placement. The department balances theoretical and pragmatic approaches while exploring an awareness of impact of design decisions on the global community. Sustainability and ethical responsibility are integrated as part of a holistic approach to creative problem solving. The mission is to provoke an educational foundation that prepares students to enter the design profession and become leaders in the design community. We accomplish this mission by:

  • delivering adaptive and innovative educational programs
  • providing excellent instruction along with challenging and stimulating studio experiences
  • hosting professional guest speakers
  • enriching the studio experience with real community connection and sponsored projects
  • providing exposure to professional design fields through national and international opportunities
  • integrating environmental responsibility in design throughout the curriculum

This will enable students to succeed in the global workforce as practicing design professionals or to pursue advanced design education.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

The Department of Applied Design believes that diversity in all its forms strengthens our community and is critical to nurturing the creative processes that we rigorously pursue. Therefore, we are committed to creating an inclusive learning and work environment that embraces people from all walks of life and is open to challenging assumptions and biases. As a result, Applied Design aspires to promote equity in our community and contribute to creating a more just society through our scholarly work, our interactions with external communities, and the impactful work of our graduates. Read more about our commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

International Studies

We are committed to offering international study experiences for students, with recent study abroad programs in Paris, Prague, and London. In addition to these faculty led summer experiences, we also have exchange programs with several universities in Costa Rica, Belgium, Italy, England and Peru.


The Department of Applied Design is housed in Katherine Harper Hall with the majority of Apparel Design and Merchandising courses held in the Reich College of Education building. Each program has multiple dedicated studios, access to material exploration facilities including digital manufacturing and computer labs. The labs are outfitted with many of the tools, computers and programs our students need to be successful in their academic careers.