Understanding Design through Deconstructing Curriculum: A Comparative Study of Visual Arts Programs at the Pennsylvania State University and Pratt Institute

Open Access
Lai, Chi Ping
Graduate Program:
Art Education
Master of Science
Document Type:
Master Thesis
Date of Defense:
July 17, 2018
Committee Members:
  • Wanda B. Knight, Thesis Advisor
  • design
  • art education
  • curriculum
This study explores conceptual meanings of design within visual arts programs at the Pennsylvania State University and Pratt Institute. The Pennsylvania State University is a research-focused, multipurpose institution, while Pratt Institute is an art-focused, independent institution in New York City. Visual arts programs are framed for this study by selecting the schools at the two institutions that contain the word art, design, or art education on their titles of programs. To understand the conceptual meanings of design at the institutions, I analyzed the text produced by the institutions. Sources of the text include institution context, institutional strategic plans, and mission. I analyzed the text through contextualizing the word design in the text to uncover how the word shapes arguments. By comparing and contrasting the text analysis, I find the word “design” in the text acts like a methodology. The notion of design as a methodology resonates with the flexible an fluid nature of the concept of design, resulting in the similarities and differences of the conceptual meanings of design between the institutions.