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The College of Arts, Media and Design (CAMD) at Northeastern University is pleased to announce the launch of two new graduate certificate programs: The Graduate Certificate in Information Design and Visualization and the Graduate Certificate in Experience Design. The two new certificates support the University’s overall mission of educating students to work across disciplines as leaders in creativity, communication and collaboration, areas that are critical to local and global innovation and showcase the College’s vision of prioritizing 21st century literacies such as data storytelling. The certificates will be available for students beginning in the Fall of 2017.

The Graduate Certificate in Information Design and Visualization focuses on the data-driven analytical and visual design of information, preparing students to communicate visually while engaging advanced data analytics to produce meaningful information environments. The Graduate Certificate in Experience Design embraces research-driven strategy development and promotes design thinking for entrepreneurship, organizational design, innovation and related areas. The Certificate prepares students to be vital leaders and contributors to professional experience design teams at innovation and design consultancies, corporate design departments and beyond. Graduates will be equipped with skills to analyze the ways in which people experience real-world situations and to formulate strategies that orchestrate novel relationships between organizational structures, virtual and physical elements, and the humans who encounter them.

“These two new graduate certificates connect people at the forefront of creativity, communication and collaboration. Both certificates introduce core skills and advanced concepts around the global shift toward interconnected networks, systems and experiences,” explained Jane Amidon, CAMD Associate Dean for Graduate Programs and Research. “Their interdisciplinary focus is unique nationally, emphasizing the human factors or humanization of technology at the cutting edge of emerging media, analytics and cognition. We’re excited to welcome a range of students into the certificates, including current students and recent graduates wanting to add an area of specialization to their primary degree, as well as professionals and life-long learners looking to establish new avenues of expertise.”

Graduates of the Certificate in Information Design and Visualization will be trained as professionals who are prepared to tackle new information communication challenges and communicate and collaborate with researchers in a variety of fields, as well as stakeholders and the public. Over the past five years, interactive data visualization has grown to play an increasingly important role in the professional and research world – and designers and Data Visualization experts are now creating new ways for people to interact with data to transform abstract analyses into meaningful narratives in the sciences, industry, technology and health fields. Throughout the course of the certificate, students will master how to think visually, while also learning how to produce effective, meaningful visual information from various sources of data.

“Data collection, analysis and interpretation are increasingly important perspectives for making sense of our world. Information design and data visualization are the languages in which this discourse takes place,” said Dietmar Offenhuber, CAMD Assistant Professor, Information Design and Visualization. “Building on our successful MFA in Information Design and Visualization, the certificate offers practitioners and professionals a flexible way to acquire the skills to participate in this discourse and build new knowledge in a visual way.”

Experience Design is a holistic and integrative approach to design that utilizes investigation into the human experience in specific situations to improve its quality, given an understanding of human goals, needs, and desires. Experience Designers are leading important changes in how people interact with essential services and systems, such as access to health care – and in response to high demand, large corporations, such as GE, IBM, and Philips, are establishing in-house experience design practices. The Graduate Certificate in Experience Design moves beyond design thinking to investigate influences, orchestrate interventions, and produce outcomes that demonstrate the value of human-centered research and design methods.

“Instead of starting with a specific solution or technology upfront to solve a problem, Experience Designers start by asking questions: How do people actually experience a given situation and what are the factors that determine that? Where are frictions and where are opportunities for change? This is a design approach that goes beyond the design of any one single product or piece of information,” said Kristian Kloeckl, CAMD Associate Professor, Experience Design. “As a strategic practice engaged to positively impact people’s lives the emphasis is on articulating the connective tissue that ties together sequences of interactions between people, artifacts, and their world.”

Both fields support and connect to other areas of study, including media, design, communications, data science, analytics and entrepreneurship. Through the incorporation of these new certificate programs, CAMD looks forward to providing future graduate students with the ability to hone their design and data storytelling skills in new and rapidly expanding fields.