Announcing New MFA in Interaction Design

Today, the School of Visual Arts in New York City is unveiling a project we’ve been working on for some time: a new Master of Fine Arts in Interaction Design, a program to launch in Fall of 2009. The program was jointly concepted by Steven Heller, co-founder (with Lita Talarico) of the renowned MFA Designer as Author program, and me over the last several months. I’ll be charting a new path of sorts in coming months, taking on the position as Chair of the program, while continuing to foster my own information architecture and user research practice in parallel.

The program is in the early stages of development as we shape the curriculum and work with faculty and potential faculty. The caliber of the instructors so far is quite staggering even to me, and I’m thrilled to see what is emerging with each new component. The diverse faculty roster includes in part: Christopher Fahey, David Womack, Jason Santa Maria, Karen McGrane, Khoi Vinh, Paul Ford, Matt Owens, Rachel Abrams, Jeffrey Zeldman — just to name a few. (Many more on the faculty will be announced later this summer.)

Masters programs at SVA have a history of focusing on the intersection of design and business, creating projects founded solidly on application. In 2005 as part of the Designer as Author program, for instance, Deborah Adler exemplified how design can transform the interaction between humans and information; this new program intends to lead the way for its counterpart in digital media.

No matter where you stand on the interaction design spectrum, if you’ve followed the maturation and growth of the field, this is potentially a pretty an exciting step for the the design community and the larger profession. I’m going to be working with designers of all capacities this summer to find out answers to the key question: what are the critical skills needed to foster a landmark understanding of interaction design?