Education Committee
  • Identify and develop opportunities for RGD to expand and develop its programs and services for students and educators
  • Identify and develop on opportunities for RGD to increase its exposure to students and educators
  • Identity and advise on opportunities for RGD to help increase standards of knowledge, skill, professional conduct and ethics for all graphic designers
  • a) Design Educators
    • Build a platform for educators at DesignThinkers in Toronto and, from that, create an online academic journal as a means for graduate students and faculty to publish their research.
    • Develop a list of Member benefits specific to Design Educators and targeted messaging to increase Membership of educators in RGD both at the Affiliate and Certified RGD levels.

    (b) Education Standards/Oversight
    • Distribute existing materials produced for Design Educators, particularly past Design Educator Conference Proceedings, to School Libraries

    (c) Student Membership
    • Increase number of automatic schools, particularly outside of Ontario (currently we have a total of 20 with 4 outside of Ontario
    • Review and revise RGD communications to students articulating the value of their Student Memberships

    (d) Student Programs
    • Develop new initiatives for Students to be involved in DesignThinkers
    • Student Awards/DT Scholarships/Mentorship/Designathon/Grad Awards

    (e) Student Awareness
    • Review and develop more structured program for Student Reps.
    • Review RGD communications strategies for reaching students and develop a plan moving forward.
  • Design Educator of the Year

    New this year, RGD is recognizing faculty who have made outstanding contributions to student development and pedagogical research. We bestowed the Award on 2 recipients for 2018.



    At this event, design students and recent grads work in teams at creative studios across Canada to develop design solutions for non-profit clients. Each team of about 4 is led by an RGD Member acting as Creative Director and Project Manager.


    Student Awards

    This annual program, RGD's oldest, distributes cash prizes, supported by industry partners, in recognition of Student Excellence. The program has distributed over $200,000 to date. 


    Automatic Student Membership Program

    RGD works with post-secondary institutions across Canada to offer Student Membership for students enrolled in graphic design and related programs as well as custom programs and services for their students.


    DesignThinkers Scholarships

    RGD works to ensure access to RGD programs such as DesignThinkers with the assistance of industry partners who provide funding to assist students and recent graduates who apply. For DesignThinkers 2018, RGD distributed five $500 Scholarships for DesignThinkers in Vancouver and six $500 Scholarships for DesignThinkers in Toronto.

  • Chair: Saskia van Kampen RGD, Toronto 

    Saskia is an Assistant Professor, OCAD University. She is currently doing theoretical and empirical research that focuses on methods for nurturing intuition and tacit knowledge in undergraduate design students through experiential, transformative and Writing in the Disciplines learning theories.


    Rebecca Black Provisional RGD, Sudbury

    Rebecca is a junior graphic designer, graduating from Cambrian College's graphic design program in April 2019, and has recently been presented with the RGD Graduate Award. She previously served as the Co-Chair for the RGD Student Committee and Student Representative on the RGD Board of Directors. Rebecca is currently working as a freelance designer, and has a passion for creating conversation and interaction through design - specifically through user experience, and package design and branding. 


    Randal Boutilier RGD, Toronto

    Randal is founding principal of 12thirteen, a firm focused on serving the non-profit and performing arts sectors. Word-of-mouth promotion has grown his client list from small businesses and independent artists to York University and the Canadian Women’s Foundation.


    Daniela Buitrago Provisional RGD, Vancouver

    Daniela is a junior designer that loves to create friendly, vibrant and smart visuals for humans. She has a great passion for design research, branding and illustrations. Previously, Daniela worked as a Creative Director for Woo Publication during her studies at Emily Carr University. And, after graduation, she worked as a Communication Designer for a health start-up in Vancouver.


    Donna Braggins RGD, Toronto

    Donna is Associate Dean at Sheridan College. Previously, she served as art director of Maclean’s and Canadian Business and president of the National Magazine Awards Foundation. Her work has won widespread recognition, with many national and international awards.


    Faron Dawe, Affiliate Member, Moncton

    Faron is the lead instructor of the Graphic Design diploma program at McKenzie College. Prior to that he spent 17 years in the creative industry as a Graphic Designer for advertising agencies, marketing and communication firms, and on a freelance basis. As an alumnus of McKenzie College, Faron's passion for design is accompanied by his new love for teaching by sharing his expertise and experiences with his students, while striving to advance the program's curriculum to exceed today's industry expectations.


    Sean Grant RGD, Sudbury

    Sean is a Professor at Cambrian College where his primary focus is in web design, typography and print production. He has also been freelancing as a designer since 2003 after having graduated from Cambrian. He previously served on RGD's Certification Committee (formerly called the Examination Board for Registered Graphic Designers).


    Kyle Greenwood RGD, Toronto

    Kyle is an Instructor in Graphic Design and Interactive Media at Toronto Film School, teaching on-campus and online courses in illustration, typography and portfolio development. A strong advocate of social impact communications, Kyle's design work has largely focused on non-profit initiatives that provoke thought, comment and action for a variety of organizations including CAMH, ACT, and the National Ballet of Canada.


    Gillian Harvey, Affiliate Member, Calgary

    Gillian is an Assistant Professor in Design Studies, Department of Art & Design at the University of Alberta, where she teaches undergraduate students design theory, practice and research. Gillian’s work as a partner and studio owner over the last 15 years has included a diverse set of private and public sector clients. Her research focuses on information design, design for decision making and wayfinding and signage. 


    Tomomi Lo RGD, Markham

    Tomomi is an Art Director at Richard Robbins International Inc. (RRI), a business coaching and events organization for real estate professionals. She oversees all design work from web, print and event spaces as well as designing custom marketing tools for RRI clients. Recently becoming RGD certified, continuing her education in design and helping young designers strive has become a strong passion of hers.


    Naila Medjidova Provisional RGD, Toronto

    Naila is a Graphic Designer at Cosmic Design & Advertising with over five years experience in the field. She has a penchant for motion graphics and seizes any opportunity she can to work on branding, packaging, and editorial work. She is continuously in pursuit of new skills, and is currently foraying into the world of 3D modelling and rigging.


    Richard Plantt RGD, London

    Richard is a Senior User Experience Designer at SchoolBundle, a scalable, unified communication platform geared toward the K-12 education market. Richard’s expertise includes a user-focused approach to design with an emphasis on creating digital experiences that are easy and delightful to use. He is also involved with the Hope for Rural Children and Orphans (HORCO), a charity aimed at clean water, sanitation, education and HIV/AIDS awareness projects in developing nations.


    Ryanne Spies RGD, Kitchener

    Ryanne is the coordinator and full-time professor of the Bachelor of Design program at Conestoga College. Her main teaching focus in BDes are Studio courses, which integrate learning and theories from concurrent courses throughout each semester, as well as implementing pedagogy that scofoldes throughout the four-year program. Ryanne has been teaching at Conestoga College since 2008 and has been an RGD member since 2006.


    Elisabeth Springate, Affiliate Member, Toronto

    Elisabeth is a freelance Graphic Designer with an M.A. in Communications. She lectures in Digital Media, Writing, and Pop Culture at Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT). She has authored and delivered courses in Design Fundamentals and Typography, as well as industry-standard design software for a range of learners at OCADu. From 1999 to 2010, she co-taught Creative Writing at York University's Joseph Atkinson College - among some of the earliest online courses - addressing the challenges of web-based learning within the rapid advance of web authoring tools and platforms. 


    Paul van Dongen RGD, Toronto

    Paul is the Design Director of Committee, a full-service design communications firm providing visual communications solutions for a range of clients. Previously, Paul held art director positions at CBC and PolyGram. Paul’s expertise includes the development of strategic branding solutions, marketing communications, editorial design, interaction design, direct mail, packaging, point of sale and advertising. He has been a Sessional Instructor at OCAD University since 2008.


    Cassandra Wesenhagen RGD, Toronto

    Cassandra is a designer with 7+ years experience leading creative projects with a focus on brand identity, integrated campaigns and editorial design. A graduate of OCAD University, her thesis focused on art and design school curriculums and how they affect student practice. She has most recently worked as a senior designer with Ove Brand | Design and is independently conducting research surrounding the "trust gap" that designers and creative professionals often face in their work.


    Michelle Wiebe RGD, Victoria

    Michelle is an Assistant Professor of Art Education at the University of Victoria. Prior to joining the faculty at UVic she taught Graphic Design in Toronto, Ontario. Currently, her primary research foci are design education, creativity, design thinking and self-assessment. She is also a producing artist in watercolour and acrylic and is a Registered Graphic Designer.

  • Presented by Saskia van Kampen RGD, VP of Education, at the Annual Meeting April 29, 2019


    Committee Mandate
    As the future of our profession, students are imperative in our efforts to raise professional and ethical standards in our industry and subsequently, increase awareness of RGD and the RGD designation. However, last year we revisited the mandate to be more inclusive of educators—to creating platforms for career development and collaboration. The primary mandate of the Education Committee now is to develop programs and services by which students, educators and practitioners may enhance and/or share their knowledge, skill and effectiveness as graphic designers.


    Committee Members
    I am excited to say that the Education Committee is no longer the smallest Committee in terms of Membership. Our team has grown to 16 and I would like to thank them all for an exciting and fulfilling year. Thanks goes to RGDs Nadine Arsenault, Kyle Greenwood, Randal Boutilier, Paul van Dongen, Donna Braggins, Sean Grant, Michelle Wiebe, Tomomi Lo, Ryanne Spies, Richard Plantt, Affiliate Members Gillian Harvey and Faron Dawe and Provisional RGDs Daniela Buitrago, Antonia Goga and Eunice Joaquin for your commitment to RGD and work on the Committee


    Automatic Student Membership Program
    Individual Student Membership dues increased in September 2018 from $30 to $40. Despite this, our numbers for Student Members increased from 2,100 in April 2018 to 2,450 today, this is largely through our Automatic Student Membership Program which has the participation of 19 schools, including 4 outside of Ontario. We are presently reviewing and revising RGD communications to students that articulate the value of their Student Memberships and which media avenues to pursue.


    RGD Grad Show Student Award
    2019 will be the second year that RGD awards a 2 years Provisional RGD Membership to  a graduating student from each participating RGD automatic enrollment program. The recipient is chosen and awarded by the program chair or faculty and RGD Members will be presenting the Awards at grad shows across Canada over the next month.


    DesignThinkers Scholarships
    To support the attendance of emerging designers at our DesignThinkers Conferences, RGD partners with industry to offer cash Scholarships and free registration to Student and Provisional Members. For DesignThinkers 2018 TO, RGD awarded 2 Provisional RGDs, 1 Junior Affiliate and 3 Student RGDs with $500 Cash Scholarships and free tickets to the Conference. Additionally, we distributed 1 Provisional RGD and 5 Student RGDs with free tickets. For DesignThinkers 2019 in Vancouver, 5 Student RGDs received $500 and free tickets and 1 additional Student RGD received a free ticket. Thank you to all of our Scholarship Sponsors. In Toronto: Arcane, Blue Ant Media, Davis, Design de Plume, Fusion Design Group and Pound & Grain. In Vancouver: One Twenty Three West (2 Scholarships), Pound & Grain, Twice and Will Creative. We are currently working to recruit sponsors for Scholarships for DesignThinkers 2019 Toronto.


    Student Awards
    RGD has been organizing an annual Student Awards since 1998 and has distributed $308,000 in cash in recognition of student excellence. The success of this program relies on the many sponsors who contribute our $1,000 cash prizes and assist with the judging. The 2018 Student Awards saw 560 entries from students attending 32 schools across Canada. The Students’ work was reviewed by 63 judges who identified 25 Student winners with 47 honourable mentions and approx. 75 finalists. All finalists received invaluable written feedback from the judges in their respective category. This year’s Student Awards deadline is May 10 with 22 confirmed sponsors: .design, 52 Pick-up, BOLD, Clear Space, Entro, Forge Media + Design, Goods & Services, Gravity Inc, Greenmelon, john st, lg2, Pivot Design Group, Premise, Quarry, q30, Shikatani Lacroix, Tony Jurgilas, The Workhouse, The Works Design, Zulu Alpha Kilo and Zync. Additionally, the Committee thanks Committee Member & RGD Treasurer Randal Boutilier for overseeing a rebrand of the Student Awards Program by his firm his firm, 12Thirteen, this year.


    Education Sessions at DesignThinkers Toronto.
    The Education Sessions at DesignThinkers is an open call to educators and graduate students to present their research, pedagogical strategies, or case studies to interested attendees. Each day of DesignThinkers will have one session devoted to education. To help draw interest we have secured Rebeca Mendez to speak at the first session and are looking for another speaker to anchor the second session. The importance of this program is to support designers working in academic realms to have a platform for dissemination of research and critical pedagogical practices at a conference, to hear from other instructors, and have an opportunity to network within an academic realm. Active participation in conferences is a requirement of faculty at most academic institutions and tends to be costly in terms of conference fees and travel (many conferences happen internationally). DesignThinkers provides an opportunity for emerging academics to participate in a conference closer to home.


    RGD’s International Journal of Graphic Design Pedagogy and Practice

    The call for DesignThinkers will have a secondary function as a way to introduce educators to RGD’s new academic journal. Those who submit an abstract for DesignThinkers will be invited to submit full papers for RGD’s International Journal of Graphic Design Pedagogy and Practice. The journal subcommittee is fine-tuning the call for submissions and this should be circulated this spring for submissions. RGD has published articles from the Educators Conference in the past in the form of Conference Proceedings, but since the conference is no longer running we believe that this may be an important way to fill that gap.


    The publication will be produced digitally and the design will conform to APA essay standards which will help reduce the time and labour required for production. The cover can be designed by active Design Education Committee members similar to how the conference proceedings were done. We are aiming to publish every other year (but this may be quite optimistic).


    Educator Award
    RGD and GDC invited our professional Members to nominate educators who had made outstanding contributions to student development and pedagogical research. Members of RGD's Education Committee reviewed the submissions and selected our 2018 winners. The inaugural Design Educator Award of Excellence for university was awarded to Milena Radzikowska CGD, Mount Royal University, Alberta, and the inaugural Design Educator Award of Excellence for college was awarded to Adam Antoszek-Rallo RGD, Sheridan College, Oakville. Milena will be receiving her award at DesignThinkers Vancouver this spring. We will be putting out the call for 2019 nominations shortly.


    Letters of support for New Programs

    This past year, RGD was asked to submit Letters of Support for 3 new post-secondary design programs. Committee Member Donna Braggins developed a rubric for RGD to use to evaluate each Program to determine if letters were appropriate. In all three cases, RGD provided letters.


    At the last AGM we reported on the first RGD Designathon which was held in January 2018 at OCAD U. Since that event we have held three more Designathons and our fifth is being planned for June 8. With each event we are honing the program in response to participant feedback and observations. We now have a branded look for the event (thanks to Provisional RGD Daniela Buitrago) and have systems in place to help with organization and promotion. The event has attracted some pretty impressive organizations such as Doctors Without Borders and Habitat for Humanity as well as the grassroots non-profits such as Black Youth Commission and Coveted Canines Rescue. Our next effort is to find funding through outside sources to help this effort become more sustainable and fair for the volunteers.


    Portfolio Reviews
    RGD organized portfolio review events at locations across Ontario with professional RGD Members and Industry leaders providing 15-minute one-on-one sessions to provide feedback and advice.


    I am thrilled to stay on as the VP of Education and as the Chair of the Education Committee. This year will, however, be complicated by my move to San Francisco in August. My efforts with RGD will continue but will be on a more remote/virtual level.

  • Presented by Megan Oldfield RGD, VP of Education at the Annual Meeting April 25, 2018


    Committee Mandate

    The primary mandate of the Education Committee is to develop programs and services by which students may enhance their knowledge, skill and effectiveness as graphic designers. As the future of our profession, they are imperative in our efforts to raise professional and ethical standards in our industry and subsequently, increase awareness of RGD and the RGD designation. It is our collective mandate to identify and advise on opportunities for RGD to expand and develop programs and services, for students and recent grads. Additionally, to help increase standards of knowledge, skill, professional conduct and ethics for all graphic designers.


    Committee Members

    The Education Committee is the smallest of committees currently in terms of membership but definitely not by initiatives. Before I highlight the committees list of accomplishments this past year, I’d like to thank my fellow committee members, Donna Braggins RGD, Sean Grant RGD, Gillian Harvey Affiliate Member, Andrea Ruskin RGD, Paul van Dongen RGD and Saskia van Kampen RGD for their hard work, energy and commitment to the committee.


    Automatic Student Membership Program

    Currently RGD has approximately 2,100 Student Members, 1,800 of these Student members were enrolled this year in our Automatic Student Membership Program, a collaboration with Colleges and Universities wherein the participating institutions cover their students’ RGD Membership dues.


    Our goal for this program continues to be the expansion of RGD’s reach and subsequent increase in numbers in participating schools and programs, particularly outside of Ontario. Fall 2017 saw 19 schools confirmed with 5 schools outside of Ontario. For the 2017/2018 academic year, we welcomed new participating schools: McKenzie College in New Brunswick, Red River College in Manitoba and Durham College in Ontario.


    We now have 3 different Student and Provisional awards available.


    RGD Grad Show Student Award

    The committee put forth a new award of a 1 year RGD Provisional Membership available to 1 graduating student from each participating RGD automatic enrollment program. The recipient is to be chosen and awarded by the program chair or faculty from participating schools.


    DesignThinkers Scholarships

    We distributed four scholarships for DesignThinkers Vancouver in May 2017 sponsored by 123w, Carter Hales Design Lab, Cause+Affect and Pound & Grain and six scholarships at DesignThinkers Toronto in November 2017 sponsored by Pound & Grain, Davis, Design de Plume, Arcane and Blue Ant Media. Each sponsor gave $500 that went directly to the students who also received free registration to the Conference in their respective city. In order to be considered for the scholarship,


    Student and Provisional Members were asked to submit a short video to Instagram outlining their desire to attend DesignThinkers and the committee chose the scholarship recipients. We have 5 sponsors 123w, Cause & Affect, Engine Digital, Pound & Grain and Will Creative, all on board for the second edition of DT VAN next month.


    Student Awards

    One of the longest running program’s RGD has been organizing an annual Student Awards since its early days and has distributed $290,000 in cash in recognition of student excellence. The success of this program relies on the many sponsors who contribute our $1,000 cash prizes and assist with the judging.


    The 2017 Student Awards saw 265 entries from 44 different schools across Canada, up from 220 from 33 schools in 2016, and surpassing our goal of 35 participating schools. Of these students, 654 entries were submitted in a variety of categories with 72 judges all RGD’s with the exception of 19 (comprised of award sponsors and out of province judges) 21 winners with 52 honourable mentions and approx. 75 finalists were announced in September 2017.


    All finalists received invaluable written feedback from the judges in their respective category. This year’s Student Awards deadline is May 11, 2018 with 18 confirmed sponsors: .design, 50 Carleton, BOLD, Entro, Fjord, Forge Media + Design, Goods & Services, Gravity Inc, Greenmelon, Intent, john st., Pivot Design Group, Polyester Studio, Quarry, q30, Shikatani Lacroix, Studio123 & Zulu Alpha Kilo. Additionally the committee would like recognize and thank Ottawa based Character Creative, for their rebrand of the student awards.


    Student Posters

    To raise awareness for student focused programming, RGD has designed posters available as pdfs to send to design school programs in order to highlight the So(GOOD) awards, designed by Toronto’s Underline Studio, and Student Awards as well as the DesignThinkers Scholarships in hopes of receiving even more entries.


    Design Educator Initiatives


    Design Educators Conference

    With the theme of Learning from the World, the 2017 Design Educators Conference, hosted by Ryerson, was originally scheduled to coincide with DesignThinkers TO. Unfortunately the conference was significantly impacted by the fall College strike and the decision was made by the committee to move the conference to Spring 2018. Since that time the decision has been made to push the Conference until after DesignThinkers TO October 26, 2018.


    The 2016 Design Educators Conference Proceedings, designed by Field Design Office, highlights seven abstracts from the 2016 Conference with the intent of getting the publication, along with 2015 publication, into the collections of libraries at academic institutions.


    Educator Award

    A new award aimed at recognizing those who educate the next generation of designers has been approved by the board and is in the very early stages of development by the committee.


    Design Educators Curriculum Support Materials

    An ongoing initiative was started in the spring to organize the wealth of RGD webinars, talks and presentations into categories that could be used as teaching support materials for Design Educators.


    Letters of support for New Programs

    In response to an increase in requests for RGD support for the development of new design programs from instituions across the country, the committee developed and implemented a rubric to standardize and help determine RGD endorsement decisions on a case by case basis. By implementing a standardized practice of selecting 4 independent designers chosen in regional proximity to the school request and by using the rubric, the expected outcome is a fair and clear standardized evaluation process.


    Creative Directions, Career Development Conference, Design-A-Thon and Portfolio Review Events

    The annual Creative Directions Career Development Conference geared towards students and provisional RGD’s, was replaced by the new Designathon initiative in conjunction with additional portfolio review events. The decision was made to replace the creative directions event as it required a huge amount of resources and had leveled out at approximately 400 participants.


    The first RGD Design-A-Thon took place in February at OCAD University and was a great success with 10 teams of Student and Provisional RGDs working on projects for 10 non-profits. Teams of 3-4 participants worked together on their given brief, led by an experienced Creative Director with a real world Not-For-Profit client. It is anticipated that there will be multiple Design-A-Thon events per year, with the next one scheduled for

    June 23, to be held simultaneously in Toronto, Sudbury, Ottawa and Vancouver.


    In addition to the Design-A-Thon’s, several additional portfolio review events have been added, 5 to date so far this year. Together it is our hope that these 2 events will offer a more intensive and immersive experience than those previously offered through Creative Directions.


    Finally, after 6 years and 70 plus meetings serving on the Education Committee, both as a committee member and chair, I will be stepping down and Saskia van Kampen will serve as the new Chair of the Education Committee. Congratulations, and I wish the Committee continued success and all the best going forward.

  • Criteria:

    • Interest in and/or understanding of graphic design education in Ontario.
    • Experience working with students and/or attending RGD student events and/or knowledge of RGD programming for students.
    • Time to contribute to the work of the committee via email feedback, teleconference discussions and independent and group work.
    • Must be a Certified RGDProvisional RGD or Affiliate Member (Affiliates can serve for up to 1 year, during which time they are required to become Certified if they wish to remain on a Committee.)


    Get Involved: 

    • Those interested in joining the Committee should fill out the online form: Get Involved with RGD.
    • Click here for a list of initiatives and other ways to get involved with the Committee's activities