Bridging the Gap: Using the Classroom to Move across the Cultural Divide

By Timothy Dolan.

Published by The International Journal of Diversity in Education

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Employing service-learning in design education, the classroom is transformed into a cultural laboratory, exposing students to unique people groups, socio-economic classes, and the power of design. Though many programs, scholarships, and advanced initiatives exist, the demographic make-up of university design students exhibits a strong preponderance toward similarity. As technology further connects us, the world becomes smaller. Service-learning provides a vehicle to expand the perceptions and ideologies of future designers while providing them with opportunities to further develop their skills. Students must confront their prejudices and preconceptions as they work to address the clients’ needs. Hopefully, these experiences break down walls and begin to bridge the gap between “us” and “them”.

Keywords: Service-Learning, Design and Culture, Power of Design

The International Journal of Diversity in Education, Volume 12, Issue 3, pp.143-147. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 296.198KB).

Timothy Dolan

Associate Professor, Department of Technology and Environmental Design, Appalachian State University, Boone, North Carolina, USA

Associate professor in the Department of Technology and Environmental Design at Appalachian State University, Boone, North Carolina. Academically, he holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Ecology with a concentration in Interior Design and a Master of Science degree in Engineering Technology. He is certified by the National Council for Interior Design Qualification and a registered interior designer in the State of Tennessee. Professionally, Tim has over fifteen years' experience in commercial design, and property development and management. Academically, he has been teaching for more than eleven years. His courses range from introductory lectures to senior design studio and professional practice. His professional and research interests include multidiscipline design, culture and design, and design as an impetus for social change.