Pat Crawford has been named the director of the School of Design following a national search according to Jason Zimmerman, interim dean of South Dakota State University’s College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences.
Crawford comes to State after serving as the associate director for Michigan State University’s School of Planning, Design and Construction. She was also an associate professor in landscape architecture. Crawford has spent nine years in professional practice, eight years as a faculty member and seven years in academic service/administrative roles.
“Dr. Crawford brings a strong vision for the School of Design, and we’re excited to have her join our leadership team,” Zimmerman said. “The School of Design has established itself as a regional hub for the design disciplines. Dr. Crawford will help take the school to the next level.”
The School of Design contains five fields of study—architecture, graphic design, interior design, landscape architecture and studio arts. First-year students enroll in collaborative design studies that focus on design thinking, creativity and professional exploration that create a unique pathway for them to explore design interests before beginning their second year.
“There were a few very important things that stood out as unique at South Dakota State. First was the unique combination of majors brought together to form the School of Design—design across the digital, studio and build environments. There truly is a focus on design,” Crawford said. “I’m not aware of another combination in the U.S. that has that collection of people and the ability to emphasize the notion of design. There is a mentality of being drawn to design as their life work. To be able to work with a collection of designers is very exciting.
“As a society, we are beginning to realize again how important the arts and culture are to our quality of life. The School of Design is posed to play a leading role in the creation of places for us to live, learn, work and play from the local to national scale,” continued Crawford.
Crawford sensed there was something that drew her to South Dakota State during a call from the search committee. That sense continued throughout the interview process.
“It was very much a feel thing, but what hit me was, ‘these people know how to do it right.’ At every interaction with the (interim associate dean) Jason (McEntee) and with faculty and students, I walked away with the thought, ‘that’s how you do it.’
“I know I have a lot to learn about the school but my early sense is we need to find the common grounds and uniquenesses that can be pushed to a national and international level to say we are special. We need to figure out how to tell our story and help them get even stronger at their strengths,” Crawford said. “The potential of being a part of the work at State on precision agriculture is an example of a unique opportunity to connect design with critical issues being faced by South Dakota and the nation.”
Crawford earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Missouri, a master’s degree from Kansas State University and a doctorate from Arizona State University.