JONNY MCCONNELL Lorem ipsum dolor sit , consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamcot aliquip

KACEY MORROW Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Nunc sed id semper risus in hendrerit gravida rutrum. Eu tincidunt tortor aliquam nulla facilisi cras fermentum odio eu. Volutpat est velit egestas dui id. Nibh nisl condimentum id venenatis a condimentum.

BRITTANY SCHADE Nunc sed augue lacus viverra vitae congue eu consequat ac. Mi ipsum faucibus vitae aliquet nec. Et ut diam quam nulla porttitor massa.

KM Non pulvinar neque laoreet suspendisse interdum consectetur libero id. Nibh cras pulvinar mattis nunc sed blandit libero volutpat sed. Eu volutpat odio facilisis mauris sit amet. Praesent tristique magna sit amet purus gravida quis. Pulvinar elementum integer enim neque volutpat ac tincidunt vitae. Quam nulla porttitor massa id. Tempus egestas sed sed risus pretium quam vulputate. A cras semper auctor neque vitae tempus quam. Et netus et malesuada fames ac turpis egestas. Mollis aliquam ut porttitor leo. Aenean vel elit scelerisque mauris. Morbi tempus iaculis urna id volutpat lacus laoreet non curabitur.

BS Non pulvinar neque laoreet suspendisse interdum consectetur libero id. Nibh cras pulvinar mattis nunc sed blandit libero volutpat sed. Eu volutpat odio facilisis mauris sit amet. Praesent tristique magna sit amet purus gravida quis. Pulvinar elementum integer enim neque volutpat ac tincidunt vitae. Quam nulla porttitor massa id. Tempus egestas sed sed risus pretium quam vulputate. A cras semper auctor neque vitae tempus quam. Et netus et malesuada fames ac turpis egestas. Mollis aliquam ut porttitor leo. Aenean vel elit scelerisque mauris. Morbi tempus iaculis urna id volutpat lacus laoreet non curabitur. Non pulvinar neque laoreet suspendisse interdum consectetur libero id. Nibh cras pulvinar mattis nunc sed blandit libero volutpat sed. Eu volutpat odio facilisis mauris sit amet. Praesent tristique magna sit amet purus gravida quis. Pulvinar elementum integer enim neque volutpat ac tincidunt vitae. Quam nulla porttitor massa id. Tempus egestas sed sed risus pretium quam vulputate. A cras semper auctor neque vitae tempus quam. Et netus et malesuada fames ac turpis egestas. Mollis aliquam ut porttitor leo. Aenean vel elit scelerisque mauris. Morbi tempus iaculis urna id volutpat lacus laoreet non curabitur.

Non pulvinar neque laoreet suspendisse interdum consectetur libero id. Nibh cras pulvinar mattis nunc sed blandit libero volutpat sed. Eu volutpat odio facilisis mauris sit amet. Praesent tristique magna sit amet purus gravida quis. Pulvinar elementum integer enim neque volutpat ac tincidunt vitae. Quam nulla porttitor massa id. Tempus egestas sed sed risus pretium quam vulputate. A cras semper auctor neque vitae tempus quam. Et netus et malesuada fames ac turpis egestas. Mollis aliquam ut porttitor leo. Aenean vel elit scelerisque mauris. Morbi tempus iaculis urna id volutpat lacus laoreet non curabitur.

JONNY MCCONNELL Lorem ipsum dolor sit , consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamcot aliquip

Non pulvinar neque laoreet suspendisse interdum consectetur libero id. Nibh cras pulvinar mattis nunc sed blandit libero volutpat sed.

Non pulvinar neque laoreet suspendisse interdum consectetur libero id. Nibh cras pulvinar mattis nunc sed blandit libero volutpat sed.Non pulvinar neque laoreet suspendisse interdum consectetur libero id. Nibh cras pulvinar mattis nunc sed blandit libero volutpat sed.

Jonny McConnell: Welcome to office hours with Jonny McConnell. Today we're on Western's campus talking with professors Kacey Morrow and Brittany Schade. How are you doing today?

Brittany Schade: Doing great. Kacey Morrow: We're great. BS: Thank you. KM: Thanks for coming up here Jonny.

JM: How did you both end up here? How did you end up teaching design at Western Washington University?

KM: Well it's kind of interesting because we have very similar backgrounds in the sense that we're both from Illinois, so we're Midwestern and then we both lived in Florida for a little bit and then moved here from Florida. Which is pretty odd I would say, but yeah aside from that I guess you're asking how we ended up at Western? Well I used to work in the industry, I went to University of Illinois for grad school, got an MFA, but before that I went to University of Iowa. And I worked in Chicago in the industry kind of doing more motion graphics and interaction design and things like that for post production houses. And then I enjoyed it, a lot, but I kind of had this like bug in me I guess that's still wanted to like go back and be creative again on my own terms kind of a little bit more so maybe it's a little more selfish in that sense but I think I just wanted to be kind of solving some design problems or seeing how like narrative like intermixed with design a little more and bridging my interest in that sense. So I decided to go back to school and kinda focus on that and then decided to teach so I just had to get that in MFA and then I started working in Minneapolis at the Art Institute and then I moved to Florida and taught at Ringling College of Art and Design and then I came here for a tenure-track position at Western Washington University in the design department and I have been here I think it's 10 to 11 years later and now I'm full professor so that's the highest promotion you can get. Yeah that's my little journey how about you?

BS: Yeah pretty similar went to undergrad at Florida Atlantic University and after that spent a few years bouncing around all different areas of the design industry from packaging, publication, advertising, and ultimately went back to grad school and just found that being in the classroom you know as a teacher's assistant there was so much art direction that was happening that felt really natural and what I liked most about the jobs that I've been working in before. So I went through the grad program, got my master's and during that time also started with interaction design and web design and by the time I graduated I found the position here and I went straight from grad school to teaching here and now this is my seventh year and I'm currently on sabbatical so.

JM: That's pretty good.

BS: Yeah it's pretty good. Sabbitude.

JM: It's that Sagmeister, every 7 years, stop, do whatever you want.

BS: it's so neccessary too, this job really takes a toll and you put so much effort into it and like so much heart that you know do you need to work on your own projects for a while and sort of recoup before jumping back in for another 7 years.

JM: Before the kids start calling you on the weekend? Do you have kind of a your own base creative source? You talked about re-energizing a little bit is that something that comes from you is that something that comes externally?

BS: Yeah actually I would say a lot of my like creative inspiration actually comes from like spaces or even studios that we visit with students or you know visiting friends that work in other design agencies or you know what I'm currently working on is exploring co-working culture but just being in creative spaces really turns something on in my brain and I become more motivated to play and discover and I think of new ideas when I'm outside of my office and outside of my house and just being around other creatives. And sometimes you just you hear people talking about something and it triggers 'oh wow, wouldn't that be cool to you know to do this other thing that's you know somewhat relevant.' So to me being around people and being around you know a place that you sort of want to dress up and be there for it and you know just like gets you excited.

JM: To be present in that space. Do you think the professional studio is different from the creative academic studio?

BS: A little bit. I would say I think you know being in a professional studio, those people are there you know all day long, you're constantly surrounded by people that are always going to be sitting there and always you know ready to give feedback and ready to collaborate and working collectively on the same project. Whereas I think here at least being a faculty you know sometimes you don't run into your colleagues you know like but once a week or so and everyone sort of you know that your time is you know being placed in a lot of different projects or assignments or things that you need to be doing so you know I just think that there's a little less of that like collective sense working in academia.

JM: More movement, you're saying? In comparison to being in like a 9 to 5?

BS: I think you know like for me and Casey to work on something we sort of have to make a plan to sit down together go to a coffee shop or you know find time where neither of us is busy with teaching or prepping. You know to work or collaborate on something whereas I think in a studio it sort of just naturally happens, you turn to that person and they're there to work with more so.

KM: I'm trying to think back to the original question about the what's your base creative source for your life or is it external you know and I think for me like it's always kind of been a balance between to make me happy and feel fulfilled, is being a problem solver and working for clients but also creating my own personal projects and kind of getting that out of me and it's always from my own kind of interest. Like that don't go away like you know some people are like I'm interested in analog photography right? So that's something that I try to then build narrative around and communicate it and share it with the world like through a designer's lens but I can still I don't know. So I worked on an interactive documentary around that was my sabbatical project. So that's something that's really fulfilling for me is that I can do that but like to only do that doesn't really get the job done, so meeting clients needs and working with clients and doing design work that way will help me too and it helps me keep current for the classroom right so doing both of those and balancing that I think really informs what we do with our students. And informing to keep them took maybe think about that balance to as they get out there so you don't like get burnt out is to try to carve out time for your own personal interest and it only makes your client work better too and sometimes creates client work from it so I think like for me I don't know if it's necessarily an external muse like you wrote or if it's like a creative source necessarily I think it just comes internally sometimes from what your own interests are. Yeah but I don't know about the whole space thing I guess it's kind of similar to being a freelancer maybe like in that sense and balancing your projects and working on your own and having to find maybe people that you can collaborate with and work with and go to a co-working space like you're talking about, it's probably similar.

BS: I think for me I have a hard time just like sparking a concept or a new project just like internally for me so I definitely need that creative stimulation like externally from people or from you know just hearing conversations or being apart a conversation and then that starts you know the wheels in motion?

JM: How much client work are you taking on? How do you manage that balance?

KM: It depends on the faculty I think, so we're evaluated as professors like you are evaluated every so often like to receive promotion or tenure. So you have to keep a balance of serving the institution so you do service, you have to do scholarly or creative activity, and then you have to do teaching and your evaluated on those three pillars and so some people do pretty much not all client work, like that's their main focus and it could be anywhere from international to national or local right and your kind of like evaluated on that as well. So it's weird to think about it from an evaluation standpoint but that is something we have to consider within our jobs and keeping that balance. Because we're supposed to be equal and so we have to treat all of those pillars equally so that's a challenge of being in academia but I guess I'd say for me I don't know what the split would be. I think it ebbs and flows, my client work is mainly things that like I would be interested in because if it's something I'm going to take upon like extra like on top of teaching, then it's got to be something that I'm going to be into. Otherwise I don't have to do it like right? So it's kind of my choice I guess I like to do a lot of like local or nonprofit right now like I work with the Pickford Film Center a lot just cuz it's enjoyable cuz I love movies, like film. I'm trying to think of what else though, like if it's like a motion graphics project I'm totally in cuz I love motion so it's just like if it's going to get me going I'm excited about it I'm going to do it otherwise I can just pass and trying to do a little more personal project or something.

BS: For me there's the desire to do personal work sometimes you know like it's gets pushed aside because we do need to work on projects that have outcomes as part of the documentation for our scholarly work and so you know I love to do illustration projects and I showed Kacey this morning, I'm working on a typeface and that's all fun but I need to make sure that I'm also you know maintaining my product design practice or my branding practice you know or like I'm currently writing a book. And that stuff is sort of weighted more than the others so while I would love to fill all of my remaining time after teaching with these fun passion projects that they really need to go somewhere in order to have that evidence which is, I don't know it's good because it keeps you going and you know you want to make sure you're contributing to the community and you're staying competitive and you're doing the work that you're that you're teaching. But sometimes you come home from work and you have to do more work and sometimes you sometimes you don't want to do it.

KM: Yeah but it does come back to the classroom again doesn't it? Cuz it's kind of like anything we do is informing us and then informs our students. So it does always trickle back which is nice.

BS: Because you know ultimately we do have very little spare time and if we do creative projects that take us into other areas that we don't necessarily teach in, then that sort of let you know that isn't really helping us out long-term in our primary careers either so it's just an interesting balance to think about you know how you want to spend your time and divide your time.

JM: Western's design program started as a technical drawing foundation and then evolved into it like a trifecta print branding digital and now I feel like it's growing again in under kind of this new era, can you tell me about the last 7 to 10 years of how you've changed the program and where you see if going? Because I know it's terribly different from when I was in this program.

KM: Were you in the program? Should you tell us about that? I'm like gonna interview him! I got here in 2008, we used to be a part of the art department just to give us a little history there so there was no design department, we were part of the art department and you graduate with like an emphasis in design I guess? Yeah so I think it was around like 2012 that we became our own department and was kind of due to like administrative type of stuff like just getting people to chair and have resources and things like that so then we became our own department, gained autonomy and built up our program and it ended up being- is that when we shifted? No, is that when we shifted to BFA, was it all at once? Yeah it was so we built out a new program the one that you were part of that had concentrations in it, so things were a little bit more siloed in that sense and I would say since then what we have decided, or witnessed, is that design a little more holistic than that and that it shouldn't be put in these like kind of concentrations. Cuz I think everybody kind of needs a foundation in each of those areas to then later kinda figure out where they fit and they may become a little bit more specialized later maybe early in their career but we're setting them up as these kind of more well-rounded informed designers here.

Right, so they get a little taste of everything from like foundational design, to typography, to print production, to web design, interaction design, user experience, it's across the board right. So it may seem a little surface-level at first but I mean they're young and they're getting kind of a sampling of everything. Getting the core foundational design skills though so I think that's kinda the main difference and then we built up our BFA to be a little stronger so it's a second portfolio review that they go through and we only accept 12 students into that. And then those students get an internship guaranteed in the summer where we kind of do a matchmaker thing with mostly studios in Seattle but sometimes like in Portland or Bellingham there was even one in San Francisco. Where there's these students get placed in these paid internships and then they come back in the fall and they start their senior their kind of final BFA year and they do like this like seminar where you make a intern stories publication and you basically reflect on that internship and get to come really think about what you learned in it and carry forward that knowledge throughout the year. They wrap up with kind of like a final show at the end of the year so that's the the new type of program is kind of a more General BA and then a more specialized BFA. But we're even going to be transitioning again Jonny, there's some new developments I can let Brittany maybe talk about that part so you can see, where we're headed now cuz that's from 2012 to now. But now we're ready to now make more adjustments we're trying to keep up with industry so I'll let her do that part.

BS: When we talked to agencies and companies that are hiring what not and you know sort of picture program and you know and then also hearing them explain to us what the reputation of a Western designer is, often people get caught up in the differences between the BA and BFA it's a lot for us to explain. And I just think that we got to a point where we realized that we want a designer that graduates from Western's program to be at the same level of the other students you know, like taking away these tiers, the BFA and the BA. We want Western designers we don't want the Western BA designer and the Western BFA designer we just we want everyone to have the same education and we want to make that more quality.

So we're actually working on curriculum development where we're removing the BA completely and all the students who complete the program will graduate with a BFA however, we are decreasing the amount of students so that way we can still have everyone be a BFA but with slightly less amount of students and so with that change it will allow us to continue to increase the amount of classes that we're offering, different classes and just giving everybody the same the same level of design education.

KM: Yeah I think so. Right now for some reason if you're getting kind of specific, our program feels very rushed. I want to take more time, I want more offerings, like I would love them for it to have more electives things like that. We do require a minor right now in this current program for BA students you have to have like a complimentary kind of minor which is great but in the new program I don't think we'll need it anymore cuz it's going to be like more robust right if everyone's getting this more specialized degree now.

BS: If we're looking ahead at you know what's happening in the industry where you know people that are working in the creative field are now, they're everything designers they have their hands in product and in branding, they're doing their own lettering for their company's campaigns. I mean we're seeing designers who have a very fluid range of skills and we want to make sure that we are providing that for the students to so that they understand that they need to be just as flexible as the industry. And our new curriculum is going to allow for the course topics to change a lot more at the junior and senior level depending on you know what the interests are that year, what the trends are, you know if there's new technology that's coming out that we want to try and test and have the students play around with and we want to have our curriculum flexible with that too. So that's going to be hopefully be able to ebb and flow just like the industry's doing right now.

KM: Cuz you had a question about something about 'are you more focused or...'

JM: Yeah, are you expanding or getting more focused?

KM: And I kind of feel like it's a little bit of both in a weird way like with the new program idea. Cuz I think we expanded, but then we only let it be focused for a few like a select few, like 12 of them get to get a little more focused and then the other like I don't know however many that is, 54 minus 12. Anyway the rest of them don't get to dig as deep right? So I feel like this new idea let's people still get everything we're not siloing still but yet you get that extra year to go a little deeper into each thing and you're not just sent off on your, good luck you know, like you get that extra year to get the different topics that relate to industry but also dig a little deeper and it'll be 36 students instead of 12 right. So it's just like we are letting in the same amount at the foundation level but then they'll be a review like a portfolio review for them to move on to graduate with a BFA so we'll be like 36 of those students instead. So that's how we're able to do it.

JM: Just denser, more focused.

KM: Exactly.

BS: I think one of the other issues that probably most students are having is 'why do we want to stay an extra year of school for the BFA program when tuition is increasing' and they need to go out and get jobs now you know. Or students you know they take a while at a liberal arts four year college to figure out what they want to do and by the time they get to their major they're in their fourth or fifth year and so we just found that we wanted to make sure that you know that having a more robust education for all students was happening.

JM: Is there an operational, financial tension that you're dealing with while you are kind of making your program smaller, but still trying to operate at a bigger level?

BS: We have to look at numbers like you know time to graduation, how long does our average student take from freshman year to graduation. We also have to look at the enrollment in the program we need to make sure that you know if one goes up the other you know goes down or are they even, though they're both rising like there's a balance there and we can't just drop all those numbers just to make a more quality program. We need to find that sweet spot where it's going to make the college happy, it's going to continue to your sustain our numbers that were comfortable with teaching here. And that's another thing to is you know while it sounds great to grow a program it also comes with a lot of challenges you know, it may be more students in our classes or hiring new faculty with resources we don't have to hire new faculty with or you know we're currently in space battles right now where we need more labs, we need more classrooms, but we share a building with no extra rooms for anybody to spare and so you know expanding sounds great, but you can't always do that it doesn't always make sense. And so by improving what we currently have and then you know adding and changing courses without like you know really growing I think is what were you know what we're working on.

KM: Yeah it's logistics. I mean if we can have more space and could higher more faculty there's so much we can do right, but so we have a design problem within our curriculums of curriculum development. We have to be very creative and resourceful in what we do and we've been very self-sustainable like we don't ask for much, we try to keep this light tight ship running but yeah it's interesting. We would like another faculty member to be able to achieve a lot of our changes, to be able to provide more opportunity for the students, but we don't even have offices for them. So you know where is this person going to go? It's weird, stuff like that. But yeah it's all about numbers like I think our biggest scariest part is just making sure we recruit really well, we increase recruitment and try to get people in from high school at the early level because if we're going to be making our curriculum or restrictive and you can't enter it as easily and it's very like sequential, that's the other huge change for making, is that it's sequential so it's skill building and right now it isn't as much. Like at our foundation level you can kind of jump in at any moment, but it won't be anymore, so that's kind of scary. Cuz what if people are like that timing is off for them, they missed the portfolio review, so they got to wait a year right and then it's like the does that change alert time to graduation? So it's going to be really interesting and tricky but we're willing to take the chance cuz I think the benefit is too high like and I'm willing to try it.

JM: What is that kind of successful program in 5 to 10 years from now? Do you have, do you know what that vision is other than these changes structural changes?

KM: Like I mean I hope it like that's a great question, cuz like in 2012 we developed this model and then now we're seeing how it played out and I'm discovering the problems with it, so we're trying to address that again. So I mean like ideally like we'd have the recruitment, people be arriving getting right into that part first portfolio review when I want them, they passed through, they graduate, their well-rounded, but they got to like dig deeper, maybe they had an internship, they worked with industry professionals in those workshops they tried different current topics in the industry. But everybody got that same sequential kind of experience to build their skills in the foundation leading up to that, I mean that's like ideal right?

JM: It's kind of like a 10 year ux iteration where you see did it work or not? Let's tweak those parts and now try the experiment again.

BS: In a way I also don't want too much to change. You know I think we have something really special and why curriculum should always involve, I think you know we have such a strong network of alumni that would stand up and defend this program at any cost and have you know really rich connections with the faculty and with their peers and you know I think I would want that to remain where it's at. I would love the reputation of the program and the school to travel more yeah I'd like more people around the country talking about Western's program because I think that we are you know, one of the biggest competitors in the state for designers and you know that's something I ready for the department to get that recognition you know. We're like tucked away up here by Canada and nobody sees us and oh you know middle-sized state school but we're doing good work and I think if we can maintain that at the very least we're doing something great. You know and while making all these changes I think that's just going to add to what we have going on.

KM: Yeah we just did a rebrand too, which is something new for us and then just launched the website, Brittany coded our website. It's a slow roll out right now but that's pretty exciting and what maybe we can enter that into like competitions or something like just get the word out more even amongst the industry that we're like here and we're ready. But I think the other thing that came to mind when you said talking about like industry is that we have an advisory board, I'm not sure if we told you that. So it's an advisory board we meet by biennially with professionals in the Seattle area and it's usually built up of like three alum so that's pretty cool cuz then they're going to know kind of where we came from and where we're going to. And then we usually get people maybe in like studios in Seattle and then maybe some larger like tech companies right to get kind of a nice balanced advisory board but we always present are changes in our curriculum and our outcomes and things like that and see if it's kind of matching like what they're thinking right now. So we just get some feedback from from the industry a little bit that way.

BS: I think what they see, and other creatives in the industry, see about Western is and we heard this a lot like 'your Western designers are scrappy, they're resourceful, they can do a little bit of everything, and they're very lean and then they work hard' you know and I think it's some of that has to do with the fact that we have our faculty body is probably younger than most. And where we're always very flexible, we're always talking about making changes and evolving or experimenting with projects and I think that has a lot to do with you know like us kind of staying at the front of trends and technological changes that are happening.

KM: I think students being at a liberal arts institution too like they bring their other interests in and we always encourage that like that's why the minor was a part of this last version of our curriculum, that requirement. Cuz it'll make them more well-rounded right? Brings their personal voice in more and I think that shows, so it's less cookie cutter work coming out of here you're going to see each person's personality in their work. Which I think is really cool and I hope that that's something I want to maintain.

JM: I've definately walked into studios and someone has pegged me for 'oh you're from Western aren't you? Like I'm from Western.' And it's not a secret handshake but it's a we come from the same mindset in how we're going to solve something. Where is people from other schools, I have no reference point for what their background is and I can you know maybe cause friction with them at the same time just because their problem solving process is totally coming from a different point of view. And that's good sometimes, and it's bad sometimes.

BS: What do you think that identity is of a Western designer?

JM: Definitely interested in solving a deeper underlying problem. It's not a surface level problem-solving, it's not a surface level visual solution. It's a 'okay let's dig and research into something and then the ultimate solution comes out of that understanding of how something works or why works in a certain way.'

KM: I like that, that makes me happy.

JM: What do you feel the role of mentorship in a creative community to be as a teacher and his peers to each other?

KM: I mean isn't mentorshp kinda just my job right?

JM: Yeah that's an awesome answer. I'm sure some professors don't care.

KM: And then it doesn't just end. Like when they graduate, they're still calling. And they can become mentors for our students like we have them come back, if you've done that. We call you back and then you answer questions and they ask you know. I think that we are mentors for each other especially when some new faculty arrive, we hire somebody new, we have to help them right like guide them and show them the Western approach and but then they're going to add and contribute and you know adapt as well which is really cool. But yeah I'm trying to think of how to answer that I don't know.

BS: Being a design educator is a lifestyle and when you sign up for academia it's there's an expectation that you need to be there for the people around you and the students. The amount of like texts from alumni that have questions about 'oh you know like should I switch firms?' or 'can you give me some advice on how to ask for a promotion?' and I'll get those or another students that are working on something on a Sunday that's you know 'oh hey I have this question' and they're slacking you and yeah boundaries should exist at the same time it's nice to know that the students feel comfortable enough to say you know 'hey I'm working on this and if you're available like shoot me a message' and you know you're there for them like you would be for any other colleague or friend in a sense. But I think it just never ends and even in our program we do a lot of work with the community or through the internship program which is a mentorship program in when we arrange that we make sure that the firms that sign up and the lead designers who take on the role as mentor for the intern are prepared for you know the projects you know that the intern's going to be working on or the questions they might have or the check-ins that they need to do. So there's a lot of you know arrangement for that to happen and you creating that space where mentorship is happening on all levels.

JM: A lost more structured conversation. I've been around some interns who are called interns, but are really just hired as a junior designer cuz they're cheaper. And and no one gives them any sort of internship they're like cool 6 months you're out, you're done, don't come back. Are you are you requiring people to do an internship?

BS: So we require our 12 BFA students to do summer internships for credit and the internship coordinator will basically arrange the internships with companies, find the mentor and then sort of create this internship package for the students. And those are heavily curated so we go to top firms whether it's inhouse or agency and we discuss with them you know, 'what projects will you be putting the intern on?' you know 'are you truly available for them during this process?' So it's like that is just baked in the program of that about mentorship.

KM: And don't you go down to Seattle or maybe not Seattle but like wherever the internship is happening, don't you go check in?

BS: Yeah it's super structured. I mean from the moment that we get the the companies on board you know, they sign contracts with us and you know when that roster is complete then I start working with the students to get their resumes, their portfolios ready for interview. We practice with mock interviews, we discuss work culture and professional dress and all of the things that they need to know going into the internships, once they do a few interviews up at the different places and I ultimately place them where they go, then they do at 9 week internship. And that's all sort of parsed out by the company what type of work that they're going to put the student on and then I go down to visit them two or three times throughout the summer for checkins so I make sure that the student is working at the sort of required quality level that the firm is looking for and they can also talk to me about any issues that they're having with the student if they need them to increase productivity or have a change in attitude or if they're doing just great that's an opportunity for them to let me know what's going on.

KM: It's also paid.

JM: That makes a difference. It makes it more real.

BS: And we don't want, we don't send our students to companies where they're going to be getting coffee. You know we we make sure that they're doing actual design work you know and that it's also valued at the same wage that they're earning too, we don't want to be doing art direction for a company and making peanuts, that's not okay either.

KM: A lot of the times too they'll get hired by these companies after like a year later right. When they graduate, they'll go back and they work there, they're hired as a junior designer. Or they'll continue to work for them and like when they're in school, they work remotely do I don't know.

BS: We currently have I think three BFA who are still doing freelance work for the companies that were interning at this past summer.

JM: So you're offering them a beginning to their own employment.

BS: And something that we advertise with our current BFA program is that when you graduate you should be able to work as a junior designer or an associate designer you know it they have that internship experience and they have those sort of professional client projects that they've been working on throughout the year and so we're just preparing them for graduations you just jump right in and sort of skip that internship phase. Cuz they've technically already done it.

JM: There was a migration point that I guess I went through, of going from a defined student setting where every project is pretty set out you know it's this premise, what would you do? In transitioning I think it took me probably two years to really transition into this here is an undefined problem set, start. Figure it out. What would you do? And if I had an internship to help with that migration, it probably would have made more sense.

KM: Instead of trying to navigate it all at once. Just everything that comes with a new- JM: Yeah just dropped in. You're like you're done, great, now go work.

KM: And you don't have like a month to do it. In school you know? Their deadlines are so long and they don't realize it.

JM: Well and nothing changes too. There is a premise and you work from that and then you figure out how to solve that. As opposed to someone sending an email one weekend, 'we have to throw out how much work? You want me to start over, all of that?'

BS: That's probably the biggest challenge that we have is to answer the question 'how do you bridge the gap between school and the real world?' And you know it really is an artificial environment, in any school, and we really work to you know to overcome that as much as possible by giving them collaborative projects or community projects or working with clients and workshops. But it really is. I mean you graduate and you put in your dues, and you work the job when you feel uncomfortable, and you try out things until something feels right.

KM: I feel like you learn more in the first two years you're out of school than you do the entire time you're in school. Like you're just, But we like prepared you for that I guess but man you got to hustle.

JM: It's just a lot faster, everything is. You should have something built into your curriculum where you change the project mid-quarter.

KM: Like I just talked to my husband he likes the color blue so you have to make that blue. I would love that. I love this idea. The other thing that we do is have a professional practices course which prepares them for industry so we have like people come as guest speakers, but you also teach people how to create an invoice you know. Let's make a resume, write a cover letter, learn how to interview, so they have to do all of that stuff in this class and it's usually like right before they graduate right now to get them ready so fresh in their minds and they're prepared I know Brittany has taught it a few times and if you want to expand upon that.

BS: Yeah, it's a lot of fun. What's great about that class is that you start waking up their minds to thinking about what they really want to do. Because up until that point they've been immersed in their studio courses learning web design, learning branding, learning type, learning packaging, and whatever other studies they're doing and then all of a sudden hey you got one quarter, 'left what do you want to do when you get out? What's next for you?' And you know I've always tried to calm that anxiety down by saying we don't need to focus on your whole life's career. What do you want to do for next 3 years? What's interesting to you right now? I'm sure you have a list of 20 things that you would love to take on throughout your career, just pick one, and if you don't like it you can change.

And that's a great thing about the design industry or really any job in the creative industry, is that you aren't tied to a position or company for 10 or 20 years anymore, that's not how it works. In fact you could be sitting on the beach with a laptop doing a freelance career if you can make that happen, so you know having you having that course to sort of soften that and expose them to you know different possibilities and saying 'be flexible' and 'try this' and 'try not to worry so much' and 'don't put an identity on your career right now, don't put a style on your work' just do what feels good.

KM: I think doing field trips to these places helps a lot too. Like going to a place that's like inhouse like maybe it's large or maybe going to a place with a smaller studio with a few people and like bringing the students to these spaces, it really opens their eyes dramatically. And they start to think about like what they do, usually we encourage them to ask questions and they ask about work-life balance and try to figure out who they are and what matches them the most right like what's going to make them the most happy because some people might like the grind and ad agency style and some people actually might want to go home at 5 o'clock and like not have to work that night. So I think that course helps with that and just hopefully anytime we're in a course we can introduce these concepts and talk about that. Talk about portfolio and like what people are looking for that's always a common question too, like what's a prospective employer looking for in a portfolio so talkin about developing case studies and what is that. That's what we're doing right now like they're writing their first case studies, they've never done it, they're just like 'what is this' like they hate it.

JM: They just learned how to design things, now you want me to reflect on designing something.

KM: How dare you!

BS: Yeah it's part of the requirements for a portfolio and if they don't know how to write, they don't know how to articulate and communicate what they did, then it's like it never happened.

KM: I told them there's like 10 of them out there. They'll be like 20 of you, but if you have the case study that explained your thought process and went deeper, then they're going to pick you over the other you know equivalent designers that have the same aesthetic but you had the thought process behind it. Like that goes back to the Western designer that you were saying like we actually look at the bigger picture and kind of like what is that core problem right? It's not just about the pretty picture.

BS: Sometimes I wish it was.

KM: I know.

JM: So actually there's a lot of depth in the whole process that you've described. Not to say it's the opposite, but where do you see the relationship of formal design education and art school and liberal arts universities in comparison to programs that are shorter, they're certificate-based, they're usually for profit schools, where- is it a subset? Is it an opposite? What is that relationship?

BS: I think that those programs exist to fit a need for people, not everybody can go to a 4-year school and get that formal BFA degree. You know some people are augmenting their existing careers with the 2-year degree they're getting at a community college or they're going you know after work, they're a branding designer and after work they're going to General Assembly and getting their ux certificate. And I think that any education can only help you. You know? I mean if that's the research that you do to figure out what program is right for you, that's important, that's on the designer or on the student to figure that out, but you know I personally encourage as much education as you can afford or that you have time for.

KM: And then putting yourself into it cuz I think it in the four year school or any of those like it kind of comes back to you as an individual and how much you're committing and putting forth. Like we have students and we work with them and we do what we can you know we do our best to help them with their projects, but it's a two-way street and they have to you know like care about it and put forth that effort and I think like you're right, like at any level of any degree you're going to get or certificate that doesn't change. So I know people who didn't go to school at all and they're killing it cuz they have that drive like that self you know initiative, so I think I kind of comes back to that

BS: I think you know something that we talk about that's really hard to teach is good taste. And the drive you're talking about, and some people come in with incredible taste and their talent is there, their work ethic is there, and it's almost like we're just watching them grow and do the work and sort of take care of that learning on their own because they're capable of that. Whereas other students we really have to hold their hand and show them why is this working, why is this not? You know this is what that color elicits and you know all of those foundational things that you'd expect to be in a program, but you know I think that when you look at you know making a decision and what kind of education you want, you know some people with like crazy talent go into a two-year program and then they flourish, they're working at Google or some high end studio and then you get other students that go up to their masters and and you can still tell in their portfolio that that eye still isn't there. And so I'm not sure that it's completely the education I think there's other factors there as well.

KM: Nature-nurture thing? Nah I don't know. Well kinda. But we can train, well it's a part of our job is to like train their eye, right? And then make them look around them, like so: expose yourself, see what's out there, what's working and what isn't it why is it? I mean yeah.

JM: Where are you creatively now, and where are you headed as an individual?

KM: Can I listen to in ten years? And make fun of myself?

JM: Yeah it'll probably still be on the internet.

KM: Oh great. Did I sign anything? Okay, no it's actually a great question, and timely for me because I just went up for full professor, I think I mentioned it earlier, and I received it somehow. So like when you get to that part you're like, cuz that's the last promotion you've already gotten tenure you did that, you passed that hurdle. And then you passed the next one and then your like 'okay, is this it? Like am I done am I staying here? Like is this a done deal? Or like am I giong to work somewhere else someday right?' It's kinda weird to think about when you're in education, and you're content with the place that you're at like so do you just stay in education for the rest of your career or do you get back out there? And I think because we are you know we're trained, we're trained designers we can easily just go back into the field and we will be fine and it'll be great, but we choose to be here to help these students and help inform the industry hopefully.

But I'm not answering your question at all. I'm happy, I'm content I think I just, I think I want to keep working in 5 to 10 years I guess on just making our curriculum stronger and hoping that these changes that we're making will be successful and won't bite us in the ass somehow. Like maybe we had a good thing and we you know I don't know, but I'm like willing to take a chance to see cuz I just I want it to continuously improve and make our students even stronger. And then my personal goals I guess would be to just hopefully balance my time management a little better and pick projects that are very meaningful for me in my life to make and create and good people to work with, have good collaborations that are inspiring. I think that sounds ideal to me and just hopefully keep my finger on the pulse of technology and industry because as you age it can get a little harder cuz you just get a little more tired and you're trying to balance so much that having to learn the latest like coding language where you know how do you design for virtual reality and shoot 360 video and what's the news latest prototyping tool and oh my God like do I have to learn Cinema 4D, again? It's just what Brittany and I teach is very tech-heavy, like we have to constantly be evolving and changing looking at tech like all the time. It's exhausting, but it's really fun too at the same time.

JM: Teaching a moving target.

KM: Yeah yes yeah exactly, and hoping you're choosing wisely you know.

BS: But it's not like, you're teaching a moving target that's like deer or like a rabbit, it's like a fucking cheetah you know? And it moves really fast and it can be a little stressful.

KM: Yeah I dunno, that's the hardest part of our job. At least with what we specifically teach, it's just insane the same amount stuff we have to learn and keep doing. Oh my god, my job has changed so many times in the last 10 to 11 years, like when I taught you. Just think about it, the iPhone just came out in 07 right, iPad came out in 09 when I was here. We were using Flash but then they were like no more Flash.

JM: Responsive design came out.

KM: And then responsive design 2010, that guy wrote that article.

JM: Changed everything, changed my curriculum.

KM: Thanks a lot. Alright, what are your things?

BS: Yeah, I started teaching when I was 26 and then I came to Western at 27 or 28. So design education has been the majority of my career you know, when I first started here we would, you don't know what I'm about to say Kacey, we would go to your studio tours and see all these like really inspiring companies and firms and it was so exciting and you know I must have had like you know a dozen different you know like existential crises trying to figure out oh shoot I'm so young do I need to jump back into industry? And I feel very confident in what I'm teaching and the skills and in what I bring to the program but there's always that sense of you know once you're in education, do you ever step out of that you know? Do I want to? Am I happy here? And I think now - you know now that I'm on sabbatical - I have to say that I am really happy. What brings me the most joy teaching is the relationships with the students. Because I'll see students that go off and they're wildly successful, they're starting their own firms are doing crazy shit than I could ever do and they credit me and I say thank you, and you know to be a part of someone else's success like that, to be a part of thousands of people's lives and successes feels so good and it's so rewarding that I really can't imagine not educating to some degree. I'm definitely happy here and I feel like you know at this point in my teaching career I have you know I have authority here you know, I'm now a senior faculty and you know this is a place where I can thrive and I'm very familiar with the program and you know I like that for sure.

And you know, personal projects I also feel like I've cleared the hustle you know I don't need to sort of build that volume of client works or scholarly works that's required of tenure that now I can also be a little bit more selective in you know hey I'll work on this project or work on this typeface or do things where I'm not having to necessarily prove myself as much but things that maybe help fulfill more of that creative satisfaction. Because hey you know we do have full-time jobs and and the stuff we do outside should really make us happy as well so. I don't know, I think 5 to 10 years from now I'll probably be here doing another podcast with you because I really like it here. And you know the reason that I actually came to the Western, or that Western was my first choice, is because I was watching what Kacey was doing in the classroom from afar it was one of the only educators at the time that was using websites for their classes. And I was teaching in Florida and applied to the program and I was stalking her websites and I couldn't believe how much flexibility there was and how forward-thinking it was for what was it like 2013 which is not that long ago, but the stuff that was happening wasn't happening in other programs because there's so much freedom here at Western to just drive that program forward and rethink curriculum at all times. So you know I came here because this is my first choice and I liked what was happening and I still like what's happening and I love my colleagues and the students are super talented so I don't really think that's going to change.

KM: Damn. JM: Awesome. BS: Mic drop. JM: Please don't drop them.

KM: Yeah they are, the students are pretty cool. They're pretty inspiring, I guess I forget. Like every day is different- like that's pretty cool. Like I'm not a very like schedule like I don't like a nine-to-five everything is the same. So I roll in at like 11 and then I get in that classroom with them and they all have different ideas and they're crazy and they're wild and they're the ones that are fresh and cool and they're keeping me cool.

BS: I think I'd get carpal tunnel if I worked a nine-to-five.

KM: Oh I know. But yeah working with them is like so amazing cuz they're it's their ideas are so fresh. And like there's so many people that we're working with, we're like constantly like developing like 50 different ideas at once right, like in one day. Like I'm teaching two web classes right now we're going to like 34 websites right now, with people, right? Like we're concepting, we're designing and we're developing, it's like what other job does that? It's insane.

So it's super fun and keeps me fresh, keeps me on my toes and I like mixing it up in the classroom with them cuz I am who I am. Like I don't put on a show in class. Brittany doesn't either, we're straight shooters.

BS: It is really interesting to watch like your teaching style evolve over time and like what that looks like, 'mm where did that come from?' you know. While I like to have a very relaxed environment with music and I want students to feel very comfortable putting their work up, at the same time I also tear it down and I let them know that that's not working or they need to completely redo something from scratch or I don't know that sounds like a ruthless dictator, but it kind of works for me you know and I don't get as many tears these days.

JM: That's what Paul Rand would did. He would like take his cigar, burn your work on the wall, and then rip it off and walk on it for the rest of the critique.

BS: And look at that career! JM: Look what he did. KM: Did he chase a cheetah? BS: A fucking cheetah. KM: Oh right, a fucking cheetah. Well on that note! JM: Thank you.
KM: Thank you this was really fun. Very reflective, so thanks for that. I'm gonna go home and have a deep thoughts with Kacey.