Meet the Dean: Q&A with Carol Strohecker
In addition to welcoming our new students this fall, the College of Design (CDes) is pleased to welcome our new dean, Carol Strohecker. She brings a wealth of experience to our college and has worked to advance interdisciplinary research, education, and creative work in academic, corporate, government, and “hybrid” settings. In this interview, Strohecker talks about her passion for the design fields, her experiences across the design disciplines, and gives some advice to our incoming students.
What do you like most about working in the design fields?
“I like the fact that you learn so much. When you work in design you end up creating many different kinds of things – even if you’re within one area, the range is broad. You’re not just learning about how to draw something or stitch something, working in design means that you look at the history, at the potentials for broad use, and at different inputs from many people. I like the learning process that goes in tandem with the design process.”
What has been the most enjoyable part so far about becoming the dean of the College of Design?
“Meeting so many passionate people and also returning to a public research university. The land-grant university mission is where my heart is, so I’m really happy to be here.”
What are you most looking forward to doing during your first year as dean?
“Connecting. Connecting ideas, connecting people, and connecting members of the college with members of the community and vice versa.”
What’s one thing you’d like the College of Design community to know about you?
“That over the years I’ve participated in many different facets of the design fields that are represented in the college. When I was a teenager I made my own clothes, and then worked in typesetting and print shops and did graphic design. Before graduate school, I worked as the publications director for a public art museum. I’ve created screen-based dynamic imagery working with film, video, computer graphics, interactive video, and software tools for various kinds of imaging.
In North Carolina, I started and ran the Center for Design Innovation, which was situated within a regional development program so it involved working with urban planners, landscape architects, architects, and interior designers. At the time of construction, the CDI building was projected to be the most “green” in the UNC system.
I’ve also worked in product design, developing software through participant design methodologies and conducting usability studies to make sure the product meets customers’ needs.
In short, I come with a broad base of knowledge about different design professions and I am eager to see how that can fuel discussions about creating a more unified college as CDes continues to rise in prominence.”
Any advice for our students on starting the 2017-2018 school year?
“As you get more deeply immersed in your disciplines, please make sure that you continue to keep your eyes and ears open for what’s happening around you. Great ideas can originate from mixing perspectives. Talking with all of your fellow classmates will be inspiring and fun.”