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R.I.P Department of Design Studies

January 1, 2011

Sorry We're Closed (photo by Tommy Ironic cc-by-nc)

On 1 January, 2011, the Department of Design Studies at the University of Otago was officially “disestablished” and replaced with a new Department of Applied Sciences. Design Studies is no longer available as a major subject at Otago, although Design remains as a minor and the Master of Design has been retained. 2010 was a frustrating, disappointing, and demoralizing year for the staff and students who were adversely affected by a very messy and poorly planned process. During the course of the year, we discovered who our real friends and supporters are. My colleagues and students who had the courage to fight for fairness, transparency, and natural justice earned my respect and gratitude. Design may have been buried, but it is not dead yet. The major in Design for Technology, which is available to students completing a Bachelor of Science degree, now has a Design for Innovation stream. The Design staff who have accepted positions in the new department (including me) are in the process of drafting a new, scaled down design curriculum. We will do our best to rebuild the discipline of Design at the University of Otago over the coming years.

The following articles, from the Otago Daily Times, provide an outline of what happened.

Varsity Merger proposal Puzzles Staff (29 Jan. 2010)

Professor quits over plan (30 Jan. 2010)

Loss of design studies likely (13 Feb. 2010)

Move to axe design studies shocks students (29 April 2010)

Design decision surprises other institutions (3 May 2010)

University staff fear for jobs, union says (5 May 2010)

All over for department of design (12 May 2010)

Design dept to lose a quarter of its staff (26 Aug. 2010)

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