Having strategic interprofessional experiences in the classroom will prepare students to perform better and advance faster in practice because they would have those early learning experiences on working with other professionals.
Our unique combination of five majors in the visual arts and built environment enables our School of Design to offer an interprofessional education to all of our students. We combine a solid depth within each of the five accredited majors and the ability to learn across majors. Our students become professionals that are both specialized within their chosen field and capable to collaborate with other fields. Due to the unique makeup of our School of Design, where the visual arts and the built environment coexist, we have identified some strategic moments, in which the discussion of the built environment and the visual arts can happen in meaningful ways.
It is common practice in art and design schools and divisions to offer a horizontal common core, in which all the students learn together in large cohorts. At our School, this is fulfilled by our DSGN 110, the Creative Thinking class.
Our School of Design at South Dakota State University integrates the horizontal common core with a vertical common core. We have learned that nowadays it is really important for our students to establish a connection with the faculty member in their major since their Freshman year. By taking the benefits of the common core and turning it vertically, we give our students the opportunity to take their first course in architecture, studio art, landscape architecture, interior design or graphic design. This strategy enables students early in their careers to meet the faculty and start learning the culture of the major that they want to explore.
Students at South Dakota State University are called Jackrabbits. In their sophomore and junior year, our School of Design Jackrabbits hop the fence and pick up an elective from the other side: students in the visual arts select an elective from the built environment, and students from the built environment take an elective from the visual arts. Through this strategy, students within a major further expand their understanding of design by learning different approaches and processes.
During their senior year, our students have the professional depth necessary to come together once more for the common core capstone or “passion project”: these will be small cohorts of eighteen to twenty-four students from across the majors, each led by two faculty from different areas, to work on an interdisciplinary collaborative project that enables exploration. It’s about having fun because if you love your profession, you are having fun!
In addition to our School of Design curriculum, we offer many opportunities for extracurricular activities. Our Student Clubs provide wonderful opportunities for students to make professional connections and work with each other.