8:30 – 9:30 AM  – Breakfast/Registration


9:30 – 9:45 AM  – Opening Remarks


9:45 – 10:30 AM


Empowering Design Educators: Balancing Roles and Shaping Future Designers

Presented by Debbie Millman

As a podcaster, illustrator, author, curator, educator is one of Debbie Millman's many roles in the creative industries. Join her, as she shares how her work in education compliments, and conflicts, with these and many pursuits she's currently engaged in. She'll also explain why (and how) design educators should remain active in the professional design industry to better understand its future and how to prepare students for it.


10:30 – 10:50 AM

Specifications Grading as the Future of Grading

Presented by Diana Varma RGD

In 2018, after having taught at the post-secondary level for almost 10 years, Diana realized that traditional grading methods were less relevant in her teaching practice, which is based on experiential learning, providing safe spaces for students to experience low-stakes failure and mimicking professional working relationships. Traditional grading systems are often a subjective measure of performance and unhelpfully unique to the classroom. They reward students for following instructions, while the connection economy rewards risk-taking, vulnerability, unpredictability and repeated failure. A specifications grading framework provides experiential opportunities for students to do all of the above in ways more closely aligned to situations outside of the classroom.  This presentation details the ‘specifications grading’ methodology, and explore Diana’s experiences using it, including what was successful, what proved unsuccessful and the classroom environments for which it is best suited.

10:50 – 11:30 AM
The Future of Designers is not in Designing

Presented by Glen Hougan

The future competition for design will not be from other designers and their designs but from AI. Design education needs to start articulating a response to this development. The problem is that we have never seen anything in design like the AI platforms, with the ability to replicate the designer's hand, and increasingly their eye in generating endless visual content. AI’s increasingly sophisticated command of visual communication will only get better and we may have to chart a new course in design education. The presentation will provide insight into how we might respond to AI, based on how design education responded in the past to other challenges, which forced design educators to widen the scope of design competencies, but not necessarily deepen them. To identify how design can meet the AI challenge, an investigation of the current state of design education using the AEIOU (Activity, Environment, Interaction, Objects, Users) method will be presented. This will both identify problem areas that may be hindering our response and opportunity areas that can help strengthen our response.


11:30 – 12:00 PM –Q&A / Discussion 


12:00 – 1:30 PM  – LUNCH  


1:30 – 1:50 PM

How to Kaizen Design Education to Face Challenges of Living in the VUCA world

Presented by Vivien Anayian

Gone are the days when designers only worked in teams with other designers. Designers today work with engineering, marketing, sales and need not only understand but also speak the language of business, partner with multi-disciplinary and cross-functional teams and educate on the power and value of design. Additionally, we live in unprecedented times, best described as VUCA (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity). VUCA has a significant impact on design education as it changes the way designers approach their work and the skills they need to be successful.  

Meet Kaizen: Kaizen is a Japanese philosophy that means "continuous improvement" and is a methodology that focuses on making small incremental changes to processes, systems and products to achieve better outcomes over time. Kaizen can help redesign teaching and learning practices to enhance student engagement, learning outcomes and teacher effectiveness. In this presentation, we’ll look at how to kaizen design education to face the challenges of living in the VUCA world, such as creating a feedback loop, incorporating experiential learning, encouraging a growth mindset, emphasizing critical thinking and problem-solving skills, incorporating reflection and self-assessment, fostering a culture of questioning, using a multi-sensory approach to teaching students with neurodiversity, promoting collaborative learning, positive psychology and much more. 


1:50 – 2:10 PM

No More Accommodations

Presented by Eric Forest RGD

“Accommodation” refers to adaptations or modifications of educational content to meet the needs of specific learners. Educators portray enthusiasm for accommodations but many educators privately express frustration or call accommodations unfair. Students often only seek accommodation services when they are in danger of academic failure. By then there is no time to apply for the accommodation and activate it with the required notice (typically 2-weeks). Instead of waiting for an inopportune time, educators must design lessons to meet common accommodations by default. This presentation provides details on practical ways that educators can use accommodations to anticipate student needs, and build those needs into the learning materials from the start.


2:10 – 2:30 PM

Equality in Design Curriculum 

Presented by Nida Fatima
Collaboration is an essential part of the design process. However, in group-based learning environments, bold personalities easily take on leadership roles while introverts take on lesser roles, regardless of their expertise. How can we make learning design more inclusive and provide equal opportunities? In this presentation, Nida will present strategies for building the leadership and communication skills for designers of all types, whether they're naturally confident and assertive, quiet and shy, or somewhere in-between. Nida will discuss how educators can use behavioural management strategies to increase student engagement and participation. She’ll explain how, when students slip into their predefined roles, introvert, extrovert, etc., educators have an opportunity to show them an expanded version of themselves. Nida will explain how we change their existing mindset and teach them the value of taking risks and failing. By providing techniques and new ways of teaching, this presentation will give you ideas on how you can create more equality in your teams and classroom.
2:30 – 2:50 PM
Decolonizing the Design Process: A Discussion Around Authorship, Power and Control

Presented by Scot Geib

In 2015, Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission called for post-secondary institutions to integrate Indigenous knowledge and teaching methods in the classroom. Despite many resolutions to decolonize educational frameworks, there has been little consensus on what it means to actually do this. This presentation traces the development of a new design course, to be launched in 2023/24, that teaches “decolonizing the design process” as part of a foundational design curriculum. If decolonization is to be taught, then how is it to be practiced? This presentation also reflects on both the challenges and opportunities that emerge when designers choose work within a new paradigm that creates space for collaboration, inclusion and co-authorship, thereby challenging traditional notions of power and control in the design process.


2:50 – 3:20 PM  - Q&A / Discussion 


3:20 – 3:45 PM - 25-minute Break 


3:45 –  4:30 PM


From Kerning to AI
Presented by Marian Bantjes
Marian talks about the roles of the foundations of visual design, old world practices that may or may not still be practical and the combination of these with what we loosely term as AI. She suggests that, as educators, we ask too much of our students, and that perhaps it’s time to reconsider how and what we teach.