From the heart.
Scholarship for All :: 2016
Social media has become a stomping ground for those who believe that the United States should provide its citizens free higher education. That the increased cost of universities and the subsequent loans they must acquire to attend these schools is a cost that is too much to bear. They point to systems all across the globe as examples where tuition is no longer required. However it seems that they have forgotten that the pursuit of a higher education is a choice. They do not have to attend and their argument that one must have a college degree to be successful is not true. Success is not something you are given, rather it is something you must earn, with or without a piece of paper.
The stories of college dropouts Bill Gates and Steve Jobs and their ability to revolutionize their respected industries are perfect examples. While they did not thrive in a traditional educational setting, they did surround themselves with like minded individuals and bet everyone’s future on their success or failure. Both Gates and Jobs are not unique. They do not hold the secret to finding success through independent learning. What made them unique was their fortitude to succeed.
As an educator I applaud those who seek a higher education. I believe the knowledge and experiences gained while in college prove to be invaluable later in life. However, I do not believe that these experiences can come without a cost.
Can a system be put in place where individuals can earn a tuition-free education? Yes, but we must not rely on the federal government to subsidize the costs necessary to run effective higher education institutions. In order for a tuition-free education to exist expect to see new taxes, higher fees, higher room and board, higher book costs, higher cost of campus meals, parking, bus fares, just to name a few. In addition to the elimination of low cost or previously free services, look for universities to implement stricter entry and enrollment qualifications.
At the end of the day, maintaining a tuition-free higher education system will end up costing far more than retaining the existing tuition-based model.
How can we then offer individuals incentives to pursue higher education?
Here is my idea: Scholarship for All.
Embracing the idea that hard work and stewardship should be rewarded, Scholarship for All sets out to provide a tuition-free environment for those individuals who meet and fulfill a specific set of requirements to earn tuition forgiveness.
Only four years of tuition will be paid.
Public, state-funded universities only.
Students must meet the entry requirements of the school they are applying.
Students must maintain a 3.2 GPA (grade point average) throughout their college career.
Students must commit to four years of public service commencing immediately after graduation.
A list of organizations and services will be selected by federal and state governments.
Failure to maintain the required GPA will result in the immediate disqualification from the program.
Failure to provide service will result in the immediate termination of tuition forgiveness and the individual will be required to pay the full tuition price plus interest.
Failure to finish the four year program will result in the termination of tuition forgiveness, disqualification from the program with no opportunity to return.
Previous public service cannot be used retroactively to fulfill the post-graduation requirements.
Students will be required to sign a legal contract agreeing to all terms.
Veterans serving at least four years prior to attending a university will not be required to provide any additional service post graduation. If military service amounts to less than four years, that individual will need to complete the remaining years of public service required post graduation.
The Little Things :: 2015
Experience is an interesting thing; whether it's lessons learned from practice or knowledge gained from conversations, it is the small experiences we encounter when working with a variety of individuals, clients, and companies that end up affecting us the most. As a junior designer in the sluggish economy that followed 9/11, I spent a good portion of time around the entire office. Whether upstairs with my art directors and senior designers perfecting production techniques, or downstairs chatting with the owner, bookkeeping, or marketing, I was a sponge trying to soak up as much information as I could. I learned a lot during my one year at this design firm, but little did I know that one small conversation with the marketing director would change how I perceived the details of design.
The discussion in question could have been lifted directly from a Seinfeld episode as we were talking about the mundane; a rather uneventful talk about coffee. I learned that he was a former owner and operator of a coffee shop and while we talked he took a sip of his coffee. A slow and steady drip preceded down the side of his cup. He set the coffee down and repositioned the lid explaining to me that few people in the coffee business knew that if the lid was not positioned correctly—anywhere but directly over the seam of the cup—neither it nor the cup would function properly. Useless knowledge I assumed, interesting, but useless.
Fourteen years later as I buy my morning coffee, prior to putting on the lid, I find myself checking to see where the seam of the cup falls. Because, after all, our mundane and brief conversation had inadvertently changed my behavior just as the constant perfecting of my production skills had changed my design process. A conversation about coffee, not design, had changed my habits and perception of how the smallest of details can make or break a design.
Design as Voice :: “Daily Court Review” :: September 19, 2012
Why is it that when conflict arises students first gossip, complain and then settle and do very little or nothing at all? Has the revolutionary spirit been lost? This trend could be compared to the annual gripe over the government’s actions by someone who never votes. But in most conflicts those who are affected the most do not have a voice … or do they?
As designers, depending on your school of thought, we are asked to beautify, through concept, a particular problem or challenge using the “principles of design”. Unfortunately there are not enough schools, or possibly professors, which embrace the need for students to learn how to communicate a specific message through their designs. Yes, students are asked to target a certain demographic with visuals, typography, and color, but do they have an understanding of why, how, or what is being communicated by the design applied to the final artifact?
I think not.
Young designers have come to understand that professors and society do not react well to ugly. Therefore, as students, designers learn to create beautiful design and bullshit their way through the conceptual explanation of their work.
What happens when the problem is an ugly truth, a crisis or a conflict? It certainly would not be responsible to glamorize such events. Do young designers and students have the necessary understanding to communicate beyond socially acceptable issues? I do not think so; which is unfortunate because it is often the ugly truth that needs the most exposure and it is the designer who has the essential skills to properly communicate to a much greater degree than any other single individual in our society today.
So the next time something happens that gets you upset, stop and design. Help deliver a message to the community being affected. A well thought out design with the specific aim of informing, will do far more than one overly emotional rant to those who created and are familiar with the problem.
Start a revolution through design. It can be done.
The designer has the power to change everything through design. So rise up and act. Never just settle and beautify.