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Assistant Professor - Tenure Track, Product Design

Drexel University k

Philadelphia, PA

Feb 19
Job Description

Job Summary

The Design Department in the Westphal College of Media Arts & Design at Drexel University invites applications for a full-time tenure track appointment to help lead design's role in sustainable and equitable innovation at Drexel University. This position will serve as a faculty member in the Product Design Program beginning in September 2021.

The world is changing rapidly. Drexel University is ready to draw on its strengths in experiential learning, research, and scholarship to prepare students to face the world's challenges with creativity and a spirit of innovation. The Westphal College of Media Arts & Design is Drexel's creative engine. With over 25 degree programs, it serves as a powerful laboratory, defining the creative, collaborative careers of the 21st century. Our experimental nature and dedication direct Westphal's future to building a sustainable world for all voices to be heard and succeed.

This position will help to lead design innovation initiatives while serving as a member of the Product Design faculty. The successful candidate will develop design courses and workshops for both design and non-design students and provide essential thinking and making skills to prepare students to be innovative transdisciplinary leaders of the future. Capitalizing on the power of partnerships within the Westphal College, across Drexel, and with industry and community partners, this position will build strong transdisciplinary design networks, fueling the scholarship and research necessary to tackle society's complex problems. Courses, workshops, and partnerships developed will power the university's new transdisciplinary initiatives in health, technology, and design. Essential to this role will be a focus on social justice. Drexel's product design program is interested in creating a dialogue around emerging technologies and inclusive interaction design. Leading to the production of products, objects, services, systems, or spaces; and multi-sensory storytelling using strategic and participatory design methodologies. Our goal is to co-create innovative outcomes for diverse constituents to bring critical making and cultural aesthetics to contemporary design for business and social justice to the table.

The successful candidate will have strong skills in user-centered design, product development, and creative coalition building. Applicants should possess a minimum of an MFA or equivalent in Product Design, Industrial Design, or related field of study and offer evidence of in-depth technological and entrepreneurial skill sets. Exceptions may be considered based on lived experiences and outstanding career achievement. Specific expertise in areas of health design and designing with multiple populations are encouraged. The candidate will have qualifications meriting appointment at the assistant professor tenure track rank and be committed to a collegial and collaborative model of leadership and interdisciplinary collaboration and cooperation as well as excellent oral, written, and graphic communication skills.

Applicants should submit a CV, cover letter, a brief statement of design philosophy with a list of three references that shall remain confidential unless/until the applicant is considered a finalist for the position. Applicants should provide a link in their cover letter to a digital portfolio in a PDF format containing samples of professional work and student work, and/or whatever material the candidate deems relevant and a statement on diversity and inclusion, statement of teaching philosophy. Applicants are encouraged to apply by March 1, 2021. The position will remain open until filled.

Below are some questions to consider when writing your diversity statement. Note that these are meant to guide the framing of your statement.
- What does diversity mean to me?
- Why is diversity important to me?
- How will my past experiences in DEI inform my teaching, research, and/or service?
- How does my thinking about DEI inform my work?
- How does my thinking about DEI inform how I approach my work? My partnerships? Mentorships?
- How does my engagement with diversity position students to be successful in today’s global culture?

Essential Functions

Teach undergraduate studio and lecture courses that foster collaboration and cross-disciplinary learning within the university and surrounding communities.
Support departmental efforts on design collaboration across institutional boundaries, including teaching, research, industry, and community partners.
Develop and implement a range of design workshops and co-curricular activities across campus.
Develop research to support departmental focus to build social justice design with inclusive creative activities, and diverse constituents.
Keep abreast of new professional developments and communicate ideas to students and colleagues so that their own performance is improved.
Serve on university, college, and department committees to support research, mentorship, outreach, and curriculum development.
Contribute and lead development of departmental and program initiatives that focus on student engagement and recruitment.
Work with Program Director to develop and manage foundation courses in design visualization and human-centered design methods.
Work with Program Director and faculty to develop a suite of executive education opportunities related to design methods and creativity.
Participate in regular reviews of the Product Design Program to ensure it remains future-focused, increasing its value for students and faculty.
Actively mentor and support interdisciplinary design students.

Required Qualifications

Bachelor’s Degree
Minimum of 6 years’ experience in a design related field.

Preferred Qualifications

Demonstrated ability to teach at the post-secondary level and show an aptitude for innovative curriculum development and delivery; previous experience teaching in interdisciplinary programs will be considered an asset.
A proven record of academic research relevant to qualifications, work experience, discipline, and lived experiences that inform a deep commitment to diverse populations.
Experience in proactively advancing decolonization, diversity, equity, innovation, and sustainability in curriculum, teaching, scholarship, and creative/professional activities.
Demonstrated understanding of how diversity, equity, diverse knowledge sets, and sustainability are fundamental to the quality of student experience, innovative scholarship, and design praxis.
A proven record of promoting a respectful and inclusive work and learning environment for students, staff, faculty, and broader communities.
Minimum of 6 years' experience in a design-related field.
Portfolio of past work demonstrating leadership and mastery of the human-centered design process and community impact.
Commitment to lifelong learning self-development to proactively keep up to date knowledge of best design practices and fast-changing industry trends.
Great organizational, time-management, project-management, and leadership skills.
Real-world experience applying design methods and human-centered design to diverse industries and problems.
Be able to advocate for design and influence a range of stakeholders.
Experienced at effective management and operation scaling.


University City – Philadelphia, PA

Special Instructions to the Applicant

Please make sure you upload your CV/resume and cover letter when submitting your application.

Review of applicants will continue until a suitable candidate pool is identified.

Drexel University

About Drexel
Drexel is a comprehensive global research university ranked among the top 100 in the nation. With over 24,000 students, Drexel is one of America's 15 largest private universities. Drexel is one of Philadelphia's top 10 private employers, and a major engine for economic development in the region. Drexel has committed to being the nation’s most civically engaged university, with community partnerships integrated into every aspect of service and academics.

Drexel University’s B.S. in Product Design is a rigorous 4-year industrial design curriculum requiring academic and co-operative educational experiences. The Product Design program combines creative problem solving with a self-directed university experience that fosters experimental and socially responsive design outcomes through applied design skills, technical knowledge, and entrepreneurial mindsets. With core studios and courses in traditional conceptual ideation, design visualization, theory, process, and professionalism, Drexel Product design emphasizes interdisciplinary research, design technology, and professionalism. For more information about the school and the programs, please visit

Product Design is housed in the Department of Design, including programs in Fashion Design, Design & Merchandising, Graphic Design, Retail Merchandising and Photography. The Westphal College is ranked the 7th Best Design and Applied Art School in the U.S. by College Factual; our program in Gaming is ranked fourth in the U.S. by The Princeton Review; Fashion Design is ranked 3rd in the U.S. and 10th in the world by Business of Fashion; 3rd in the U.S. in Design & Merchandising by; 7th in the U.S. in graduate Interior Architecture by DesignIntelligence; and Westphal’s Graphic Design program was recognized by Graphic Design USA with Highest Honors.

Drexel University respectfully acknowledges the Lenape People and their Elders, past and present, who are the Traditional Owners of the land on which Drexel's campuses are located in Philadelphia.

Drexel University is committed to addressing the hiring inequity that often disproportionately affects people from historically underrepresented groups throughout the University. We commit to educating ourselves about the disparities in hiring practices to understand better how we can combat these injustices within all departments. Human Resources (H.R.), Office of the Provost, and Office of Equality and Diversity (OED) will collaborate with departments to ensure that fair and appropriate measures are taken to strengthen the pool of job applicants as part of our hiring strategies. These hiring strategies will be implemented to encourage candidates from diverse backgrounds to apply, who are passionate about building and sustaining an inclusive and equitable working and learning environment for all students, staff, and faculty.

These hiring strategies include, but are not limited to, the following: (1) careful selection of hiring committees so that they reflect the diversity of rank, gender, ethnicity, discipline, and beyond; (2) strategic authoring of job advertisements to emphasize diversity upfront and to succinctly distinguish between required and desired qualification; (3) thoughtful placement of job advertisements through websites and organizations that elevate applicants from historically underrepresented groups; (4) requesting diversity statements from job applicants using clearly outlined criteria; (5) regular communication with the Chief Diversity Officer and Human Resources in which strategies 1-4 are discussed, deliberating the hiring successes and deterrents in addressing these strategies.