I can't speak on behalf of all universities in Australia, but my experience
to what has been described or argued on this list is the complete opposite.
During my education across three major universities, I had core subjects
that taught the fundamentals in professional practice by well respected
industry professionals who had mastered their craft. This covered the finer
details in practice that students would not think they need to know until
faced with the issue. At the same time, I had taken theoretical subjects by
academics (usually with a PhD in a related field) and who had less
'practical' experience but offered a deeper and more meaningful insight
into the profession i was learning. I could not imagine graduating with
practice and no theory and vice versa.

" In practice, it is not important how much you know. It is important how
much you are connected. Power trumps expertise."

Unfortunately, this statement is (sadly) true for the design industry.
Whilst I did not take subjects such as 'networking 101' it was drilled into
our heads to 'get out there' and 'interact within the design community' -
be it at design festivals, workshops, forums, open studios- whatever.

I can't say i see how one-sided theory or practice seems to be in other
professions, but i can say i resent the fact that to become a successful
designer (to a degree) you have to be good at selling yourself to others.
This also reflects the general disregard by the community on the importance
of having (and doing) research. Perhaps those that aren't comfortable with
self-promotion return to uni to teach, knowing that they are more likely to
secure a position based on their education and knowledge. But whenever I
meet an individual in practice who questions the 'point' of research and
theory, i argue that it is simply a different pathway of gaining equally
important experience

One can gain experience through hands on social interactions (aka the
school of life/practice) and another can gain experience through knowledge
and theory. Neither is more or less important than the other, but both are
vital to be taught in degrees and for the future of the industry

(perhaps this was a little off-topic, but i feel is important nonetheless!)


On Mon, Nov 21, 2011 at 11:17 AM, Keith Russell <
[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> Deat Don
> To become a bar-istor, in the good old days, you had to stand befor the
> bar for 16 yesrs.
> This meant 16 years of practical experience.
> I'm not so worried about the theory aspects of current degrees in
> Australia. My lawyer son got lots of practical experience.
> The theory stuff is now vital to his work as he is required to draft new
> law as part of his every day work.
> And yes, he  is in commercial practice.
> Cheers
> Keith
> >>> Don Norman <[log in to unmask]> 21/11/11 2:18 AM >>>
> Design may be concerned about how it educates, deliberating between
> the two poles of theory (aka research) and practice, but consider law.
>  Here is a wonderful article about the failures of modern law
> education in the USA, where professors know lots of theory but nothing
> of how law is actually practiced.
> From the 20 Nov. 2011, Sunday New York Times:
> I could write the same article about Business Schools.  Actually, many
> have complained that this situation applies to Engineering Schools as
> well.
> Design is still very practical. The challenge to those of us who want
> more theory and breadth is to avoid falling into the legal trap that
> is described in the article.
> (That previous paragraph is especially important to people like me.Yes
> we need to broaden design education for the 21st century, but the
> primary goal is to produce practitioners.  As universities more and
> more require that design professors have PhDs and publish erudite
> articles in refereed journals that are read only by other erudite
> professors, we must not lose track of our craft.  Yes, I am talking
> about me, among others.)
> Don Norman
> Nielsen Norman Group
> KAIST (Daejeon, S. Korea), IDEO Fellow
> [log in to unmask]
> Latest book: "Living with Complexity"

*Stefanie Di Russo*

PhD Student
Faculty of Design
Swinburne University
*twitter:* @stefdirusso <!/stefdirusso>
*linkedin: public