Call for Proposals for Design Educators Conference 2014 - Deadline Extended!


In partnership with Centennial College, RGD invites design educators to consider the future of Design Education at the 2nd annual Design Educators Conference, happening in Toronto, on Saturday, November 8. 


Conference Co-Chairs:

Derek Lea, Centennial College Program Coordinator / Professor

Kendra Gadzala, Centennial Professor, Art & Design Department


Colouring Outside The Lines

Teaching for the future to meet the changing needs of the industry 


The field of graphic design is constantly evolving. Professionals and educators need to keep up with a landscape that is changing demographically, technologically, culturally, socially and professionally. With the boundaries between design disciplines continuously shifting and other on-going rapid changes in our industry, we need to explore new ways of thinking and fresh pedagogical approaches. How do we move forward with broad interdisciplinary approaches when historically the institutional model has been based on separation? How do educators prepare graduates for an evolving, and ever-changing industry? How do faculty and institutions not only stay current, but plan for the future?


The Graphic Design Program at Centennial College invites you to explore these questions and more at RGD’s 2nd annual Design Educators Conference, coinciding with DesignThinkers 2014. The conference will begin with two keynote presentations, including a talk from Director of the Graphic Design MFA Program at Maryland Institute College of Art Ellen Lupton. The conference, as well as the call for presentation proposals, is divided into three categories: Connect, Reflect and Project.


Effective pedagogy is built upon diverse connections. How do we connect different types of learners with content in appropriate ways? How do faculty develop new methods of teaching to foster engagement? How do faculty stay connected to industry and informed of industry needs? How do we avoid institutional detachment to constantly evolve curricula and prepare graduates for the future?


Proposals submitted to the ‘connect’ category may wish to consider the following points of departure:

  • Relating existing curriculum to industry needs and expectations
  • Incorporating industry requirements into the curriculum through collaborative projects/internships/committees
  • Connecting with students to foster engagement in an increasingly distracted world
  • Connecting students and faculty to other program faculty and students within the institution


We cannot effectively move forward without a willingness to look back and reflect. Everything educators do needs to evolve but it is built on a foundation established decades before. How do we respond to a need to teach technology that may be obsolete before students even graduate? How do we find the time to teach the fundamentals while still remaining relevant and current? 


Proposals submitted to the ‘reflect’ category may consider the following as points of departure:

  • Recognizing and remedying redundancy and obsolescence
  • Teaching design methodologies for relevance in an industry that is constantly evolving
  • Re-framing the teaching of traditional subjects to make them relevant to today
  • Defining the relationships of craft and technology to traditional and forward-thinking design curriculum
  • How do we build on what has made graphic design education successful in the past?


Progressing as an institution requires innovation and risk taking. As we move forward and the pace of change accelerates, how do we prepare students for a future that we can’t possibly yet know? How do we approach change as problem solvers and innovators?


Proposals submitted to the ‘project’ category invite you to share your ideas about embracing and shaping what will come next. For this category, you may wish to consider the following points:

  • Developing new models for classroom learning
  • Teaching curiosity and lifelong learning
  • Developing innovative pedagogical approaches that stress thinking and problem-solving
  • Preparing students for non-traditional design roles


We invite you to submit proposals for 20-minute presentations in the form of a 750-word abstract with supporting images. All proposals will be evaluated via a peer-review process. Please fill out the following form:


Deadline for proposal submissions EXTENDED: June 6, 2014


Images can be emailed as a separate PDF to
Files must be named as follows:

Last name / Initial for first name / Images
example: Smith_M_Images.pdf


In addition to presenting at the event, selected presenters will receive free attendance to DesignThinkers 2014, taking place November 6 to 7 at the Sony Centre.

If you have any questions, please email