Fundamental to design education is the creation and structure of curriculum. Neither the creation of design curriculum, nor the revaluation of existing curriculum is well documented. With no clear documentation of precedent, best practices are left open to debate. This paper and presentation will discuss the use of a survey as a research tool to assess existing curriculum at Iowa State University in the United States. This tool allowed the needs and perspectives of the program’s diverse stakeholders to be better understood. Utilizing survey methods, research revealed the convergence and divergence of stakeholders’ philosophies, theories and needs in relation to design curriculum.
Accreditation and professional licensing provide base level of guidelines for design curriculum in the United States. However, each program’s curricular structure beyond these guidelines is a complicated balance of resources, facilities, faculty, and the type of institution in which it is housed. Once established, a program’s curriculum is rarely reassessed as a whole, but instead updated with the hasty addition of classes upon an existing curricular structure. Curriculum is infrequently re-addressed, and when it is, it is typically based on the experience and opinions of a select group of faculty. This paper presents how a survey was developed to collect data to inform curricular decision- making, enabling the reduction of faculty bias and speculation in the process. Lessons learned from the development of this research tool will be shared so it might be replicated at other institutions, and be efficiently repeated periodically to ensure currency of a program’s curriculum.