Zachary Petit interviewed Mitch Goldstein for a Fast Company titled Design education is ready for a revolution (6 March 2023).  Mitch Goldstein is an associate professor at Rochester Institute of Technology.  Goldstein is the author of How to Be a Design Student (And How to Teach Them).

« Goldstein… sees no delineation between his teaching, his professional practice, the master’s in furniture design he is pursuing at RIT—any of it. Everything feeds everything… The book is an A to Z for design school, covering the critical nature of curiosity, collaboration in the classroom, the ins and outs of inspiration, and things further afield… gleaned from nearly 20 years of teaching. »

[ On process ]

« design is a process, not an outcome…  An emergent process… I think when a lot of students start a project.., the first thing they do is ask, “Okay, how big should the poster be? What color should it be? What should it look like?” Versus going through a process of just exploring and doing formal exercises and things like that to generate ideas. And so what Nancy and Tom taught me is that the ideas can come from making—you don’t have to have an idea and then make, you can make and then have an idea… I started to understand that the process isn’t just this stupid thing you have to deal with to get to the end; the process is the point… »

[ On grading to encourage taking risks ]

« You can’t get really good without failing. I think you can become average without failing. I think you can become sort of adequate without ever really failing. But I don’t think you transcend past that without really screwing up real bad. If a student tries something and it totally bombs, but they really pushed it, they really took a risk, they really went for it, and the actual final thing they made wasn’t that good, to me that’s like an A—not a C or a D. Other people look at it the opposite way: It’s only about the end, the deliverable, because “the client is paying you for the deliverable, not the process.” I personally think the client is actually only paying you for the process, and the deliverable is incidental because anybody can sort of generate the deliverable. »

[On the difference between educating and training ]

« the idea that you walk into a classroom to be trained to lay type out is different than going into a classroom to be educated on how to use typography…  You could be trained online in Udemy or Skillshare. That’s training, which again isn’t inherently incorrect. It’s just not the same thing as education. It’s a different set of parameters. And so my assumption, my belief, is that students are at college to be educated, not trained. The reality is some of them really just want to be trained, and they don’t need to be in college at all. They’re just kind of wasting their time and money. »

[On critiques]

« I don’t buy this idea of brutal crits or harsh crits. I think that’s a toxic bullshit idea… You want useful crits. If a crit is critical and it helps you make better work, that’s a useful crit. If a crit just makes you feel like an idiot, that’s stupid. »

[On all-nighters]

« sleeping is really important. … I would rather a student have slept than worked their ass off. Because the stuff they do at 2 in the morning isn’t good. It’s just not there. »

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