Since the year 2006 until 2017 I was designated Head for the Industrial Design Program at Icesi University. I was leading an undergraduate program in a well renown Colombian private university with over 300 students. My main responsibilities were the curricula, preparing and delivering well prepared Industrial Design bachelors who could face the challenges of professional life. Below you will find some of the most relevant features developed as head.
In Colombia is obligatory for any academic program to have qualified registry from the Colombia Ministry of Education. Nonetheless, there is label of high quality accreditation which is voluntary for programs to obtain. This certification is given by the National Council of Accreditation (CNA) which belongs directly to the ministry. It is a long process in which the program need to do a self-evaluation of multiple academic factors. This self-evaluation is submitted to the CNA which will assign academic peers from multiple universities in the countries to visit the program and develop a report. Once the report is filled back to the ministry, a decision will be done by either giving the high quality accreditation to the program, delaying it until further improvement or rejecting it. This accreditation is an ongoing process in which you will must continue doing self-evaluation in a regular basis to maintain your status of a high quality program. Under my leadership, we obtain the first high quality accreditation in the year 2006 and afterwards the status was renewed in 2010 and 2015. The next revision of this status will be by the year 2021.
More information can be found in the general University's website.
Between the years 2010 and 2012 I lead a team to develop a new curricular approach for the whole academic program. For this work we did research into how Industrial Design was being taught around the world. We developed focus groups with the students, the alumni, and employers to better understand the reality of the Colombia’s working atmosphere. Afterward we began working on selecting the competencies that our alumni must have and based in that develop objectives and the curricula. This process was successfully implemented by the year 2012 with the curricula approved by the Colombia’s Ministry of Education. From this process, a presentation and full reviewed paper was published in conference proceedings.
Citation: Mejia, L., & Betancourt, M. C. (2013). Perspectives in competencies-based education: a curricular experience to form a new industrial design profile. In DS 76: Proceedings of E&PDE 2013, the 15th International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education, Dublin, Ireland, 05-06.09. 2013.
One of my goals as program head was to show the student's work to the media and hiring personnel from the industry sector. For this, devolved multiple design showcases, where students presented their work at the end of year semester. These works will be photographed and an annual printed publication was born. This publication was distributed for free to students, alumni and the media. In the attached link you may find all the publications done up to date in which you will be able to appreciate the student's work from all levels of the academic program.
A critical factor for any undergraduate program is to showcase their process of instruction. As head for the undergraduate Industrial Design program, I supported this initiative by opening the doors of the design workshop to people interested in knowing more about the academic program and the discipline. This event is done in a yearly manner and it is completely free and open for anyone interested in learning about design. The activities included materials manipulation, sketching workshops, and augmented reality product exhibitions.
An initiative was leaded by me in companionship with the head of interactive media design at our university to develop a conference arranged by the students and supported by both academic programs. This initiative was materialized each semester in conference event of two days of duration which invited speakers from all over the country as well as international speakers. This event not only generated administrative skills in the students, since they were the group in charge of the logistics behind the event, but it also gave the academic community an excellent opportunity to learn about design. More information can be found in the Facebook page of the event in the link below.
As head of the Industrial Design program, I realized the importance of international exchange for students, and specially for designers. Knowing about general culture will not make you a designer, but it will undoubted affect your perception of the world and the way you design. Under my leadership, we did three international academic missions with students of multiple levels of the program (West Europe 2011, China 2013 and East Europe 2015). These missions included visits to museums, industry and academic exchange with other universities.
Every end of the semester, the Industrial Design Program will host a design showcase to display the final projects of those students graduating that semester. This event was intended to all audiences, but more specifically the businesses owners and employers of the region and the country will be invited to learn about the possibilities of design. One of the main goals of this activity, besides displaying the student's skills to the community, was to promote a design culture within the city and the country.
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