PNCA Seeks Chair of the MFA in Collaborative Design / MA in Design Systems – Pacific Northwest College of Art *UPDATED

APPLICATION DEADLINE: Priority Deadline – March 1st, 2021. Open until filled.

SALARY: Competitive and commensurate with experience.

PNCA strives to provide a highly-valued, well-rounded, and comprehensive benefits package that enables our community of educators to prepare graduates to transform knowledge into action and lead lives of achievement, contribution and meaning.

ACADEMIC RANK: Commensurate with experience.

START DATE: August 1, 2021

REPORTS TO: Director of the Hallie Ford School of Graduate Studies / PNCA Dean

The MFA in Collaborative Design and MA in Design Systems programs produce creative leaders who apply a systems mindset and a toolkit of design, analytical, and entrepreneurial skills to make a positive impact in private, public, and non-profit sectors.

The successful candidate for this position will have a compelling vision for the future of the MFA and MA programs, combining design research, facilitation skills, systems thinking, and interactive or experiential design to prepare graduate students for a professional future in design.

The candidate will have a proven track record of centering equity in their design and teaching practices; strong connections to national and international creative communities, practice, and resources; and the ability to create an internationally competitive program.

The candidate will also be charged with the development of other graduate-level design programs, certificates, or tracks built off the current infrastructure of the CD/DS programs.

The Chair will plan and teach courses each semester, serve as the primary advisor to the students, and provide leadership and representation for the program. They will also collaborate with faculty and staff to build curricular relationships and strengthen the program’s reach across the institution; this may include partnering with the BFA Graphic Design program, and Make+Think+Code, the school’s center for media and technology. The Chair will assign and lead the program faculty and create opportunities for student learning and professional development.

The Chair participates in recruitment for the program alongside Graduate Admissions, and the administrative team of the graduate school, and will work to expand the program’s visibility and competitiveness.


  • Work collaboratively with the staff and faculty in HFSGS on recruitment strategies to increase program inquiries and applicant quality
  • Support recruitment and enrollment to meet designated annual targets
  • Build new design program offerings off of the Collaborative Design curriculum and structure
  • Maintain collegial program relationships with both internal and external stakeholders
  • Teach 4 classes per year in the Collaborative Design program
  • Work with faculty and the Graduate Curriculum Committee to develop, evaluate, and continually improve course content and syllabi and achieve learning outcomes
  • Coordinate the assignment of faculty and professional mentors
  • Work with Financial Aid and Student Services offices to communicate with and support MFA students
  • Supervise safe and healthy studio practices amongst students (adhering to COVID guidelines)
  • Develop, propose, and help manage the MFA budget on an annual basis
  • Participate on faculty committees (Faculty Senate, Graduate Curriculum Committee, Equity and Social Justice Action Committee, etc.)
  • Help the Graduate School raise program visibility and build a national and international reputation
  • Participate in the selection of visiting artists, designers, and lecturers
  • Grow graduate-level curricular offerings across PNCA graduate programs
  • Serve as a professional mentor and academic advisor for all students in the CD/CS Programs and oversee the thesis process
  • Work with Bridgelab (the PNCA entrepreneurship resource center), and others to establish internships and other professional opportunities for graduate students
  • Help organize and participate in successful Graduate Orientation, Graduate Symposium, and other related Graduate School programming
  • Participate in accreditation evaluation processes
  • Create and maintain strategies to support CD+DS alumni


  • MFA or PhD in design, interaction design, architecture, applied arts, or other relevant field.
  • Thorough understanding of contemporary and historical issues in the theory and practice of design, with an emphasis on equity and sustainability
  • Knowledge of and experience in both studio and business practice of design
  • Hands-on experience with the processes of collaborative thinking and making involving diverse stakeholders
  • Ability to build, implement, and use evaluative measures to assess student outcomes and program success
  • Ability to expand professional opportunities and networks for design students at PNCA
  • Experience building and growing graduate design programs and curricular offerings, with a transformative vision for the future
  • Commitment to justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion in design pedagogy and practice


Email the following to

  • Letter of interest addressing the specifics of this position
  • Resume/CV with email contact information
  • Examples of professional work in digital form or website
  • A selection of student work with project descriptions, URLs, and/or portfolios
  • One page statement of teaching philosophy
  • A list of 3-5 references with contact information and description of relationship. References will not be contacted until the final round of the interview process.

The Priority Deadline is February 1st, 2021, and the position is open until filled.

Questions about this position or the application process can be directed to or the Chair of the Search Committee, Dr. Shawna Lipton