NJIT: Home to a Top 50 Best Value Industrial Design Program

Written by: Shydale James,
The School of Art + Design offers a Bachelor of Science Degree in Industrial Design that pulls together all of the resources of a world-class research university.
 
A rendering by NJIT alum Audrey Ngo, which was a winner in the Ferring Pharmaceuticals Art Competition.

 

The School of Art + Design at NJIT is home to one of the Top 50 Best Value Industrial Design Bachelor Degree Programs of 2017, according to Value Colleges.

The ranking (NJIT is ranked #16 on the list) is made up of only regionally accredited, highly reputable colleges and universities in the U.S. (along with two international universities) that have demonstrated their ability to not only prepare students for the basic demands of the career, but provide access to satisfying, rewarding and potentially lucrative positions.

Value Colleges uses three data points to determine ranking:

  • Reputation: U.S. News & World Report’s overall score
  • Salary: College Scorecard Alumni data
  • Cost: Non-resident tuition rate

“I am thrilled that all three of the Art + Design programs at NJIT have achieved national recognition,” says Glenn Goldman, director of the School of Art + Design. “Our students have routinely had work selected externally and competitively for exhibit and awards that, for example, includes work by industrial design students and alumni exhibited at NYCxDESIGN for four consecutive years. And our graduates have a record of success in getting employment within the design disciplines. It is nice to see that others are taking notice.”

The School of Art + Design offers a wide-ranging education, and creative perspective on organizing an industrial design program that consists of three product design methods:

  • Traditional, industrial or product design (furniture, apparel, lighting and toys)
  • Electronic-focused product design (robotics, interactivity and sensors)
  • Materials-focused product design (utilizing unique properties of emergent materials and technology to develop smart products)
A toy design by Dane Hagen

The industrial design program launched in fall 2006, two years before the establishment of the School of Art + Design, and was initially organized by alumnus and university lecturer José Alcala ’92 who subsequently became the coordinator of the program.

“He has taught many of the courses in the program and has remained as a caring and always accessible mentor to industrial design students and alumni,” says Goldman. “The personal attention he gives, along with the attention from our entire faculty, contribute to our students’ success and the successes of the program overall.”

Students in a fourth-year industrial design studio

In addition to the small class sizes and easy access to the Northern New Jersey and New York City marketplaces, the School of Art + Design has an outstanding faculty that includes adjuncts who are professional, award-winning product designers, like Ran Lerner and Krystal Persaud.

“We also have full-time faculty with diverse areas of expertise, like Alcala, Mat Schwartz, and Martina Decker who broaden the generalized undergraduate program by adding the study and use of robotics, sensors, interactive techniques and the study of material properties and applications of nanotechnology in both product and building product design,” says Goldman.

The different ways of looking at product design, combined with traditional design applications that include furniture, lighting, flatware, toys, and more, “give our industrial design students a uniquely extraordinary constellation of opportunities for future study and employment in a wide range of design fields,” adds Goldman.

A collection by Joe Mercurio

And with the aid of global crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter, the School of Art + Design has a become a thriving stomping ground for entrepreneurs who’ve already gone out and started their own companies like Brew Watches.

“I am optimistic that our program will continue to be successful and recognized for its excellent combination of a broad-based and inclusive approach to industrial design, along with the general education provided," says Goldman.

Watches designed by School of Art + Design alum Jonathan Ferrer

 

IT’S ALL BY DESIGN...

  • In 2014, the industrial design program had a student project by Gretchen Von Koenig selected as one of “best of show” in ICFF among thousands of professional products. It was one of only two student projects selected for that honor that year (the other from the University of Houston).
  • NJIT industrial design students have had work selected and exhibited at NYCxDESIGN for four consecutive years.
  • NJIT is the only industrial design program to have work exhibited in the curated student work exhibits at SIGGRAPH for the last three years.
  • NJIT provides multidisciplinary opportunities for industrial design students to work with students of other disciplines directly in the Collaborative Design Studio, as well as on special projects.
  • Industrial design students have an opportunity to work in varying capacities with the theatre arts & technology program (and most recently worked on the design and construction of puppets for the performance of “Avenue Q”).
  • Industrial design alums have found employment that range from GAF, Michael Graves Design Group, and Quirky.com to Cambridge Silversmiths, Everson Tesla and others.