Dean of CoAD


Dean Urs GauchatDesign is an intellectual adventure that combines inspiration, judgment, and informed decision-making… it creates the preconditions for lifelong growth.  --Urs P. Gauchat

We are at an interesting juncture.  The design professions are emerging as a major force in business.  In a world awash with manufacturing capacity, it is difficult to make distinctions between competing products.  Design is often the sole distinguishing characteristic between alternative solutions.  Design today not only gives form, but it also adds value.

This is an exciting time for designers.  The scope of traditional design disciplines is expanding.  At the same time the boundaries between disciplines are becoming more and more blurred.  New synergisms are emerging between various types of designers.  Invention and proprietary design are recognized forms of intellectual property which have become one of the driving forces of American competitiveness.

Today, designers not only have to be creative and inspired, but they also have to be able to turn an idea into reality.  In all of our design disciplines, we try to foster an entrepreneurial spirit, as well as a rudimentary understanding of business principles.  The faculty is keenly aware of what kind of knowledge, skills and attitudes are needed to succeed.   We have fashioned our curricula so that graduates will be positioned for leadership within ten to fifteen years after graduation.

NJIT is one of New Jersey’s three state research universities.  Within NJIT, the design disciplines play a special role.  Design represents the nexus between art and technology.  The design disciplines are centered on creative work; they give free reign to imagination and innovation yet use the most advanced digital technology.

In keeping with our passion for ideas and innovation we have just launched the Idea Factory.  This exciting new facility is available to students, faculty and recent graduates.  In it individuals or teams can create, invent and design proprietary ideas in collaboration with industry.  The Idea Factory is an advanced design laboratory conducive to design, rapid prototyping and testing of inventions, ideas and concepts.  It is a hotbed for creativity and an inspiring hub of activity.

A pivotal advance in design education is our Kepler System.  Kepler is an electronic storage and retrieval system made possible through a grant from SSP Architectural Group and developed at the College.  It provides a means for electronically storing all student work, including essays, drawings, 3D models and animations.  Kepler provides students with an instant web-based portfolio; it gives teachers a means to calibrate their teaching in response to an individual student’s needs; it lets us assess the effectiveness of pedagogical changes; and finally, it acts as an encouragement to spur students on to do even better work.  In short, it is an exhilarating pedagogical development within the College.

We are fortunate to be located in the greater New York metropolitan area.  This gives us access to some of the best design talent in the nation, if not the world.  The majority of our teachers are practicing professionals.  They were chosen to teach because of their exemplary work as designers.  They introduce a high degree of professionalism while also acting as role models.  A common trait among all of our faculty is a great amount of enthusiasm and a deep commitment.

The study of design at NJIT is a rewarding journey.  The College of Architecture and Design is a place where we unleash a student’s creative talents in order improve the quality of life for all.

Urs P. Gauchat