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People  •  Art + Design  •  Professor of Practice and Grad Program Lead (IDDV)

Sheila Pontis

Sheila Pontis, PhD, is Professor of Practice in Design and Graduate Program Leader in Information Design and Data Visualization (IDDV), as well as partner at the design consultancy Sense Information Design. With more than 20 years in higher education, her courses and research blend information design, cognitive science, and field research with creative thinking to help people reconnect with their imagination, envision new realities, and feel empowered to lead change — in their own lives and in society. As an educator, Sheila teaches with a student-focused, research-led, and science-based approach rooted in self-determined learning to better equipped students to navigate rapidly changing realities. Her recent research work focuses on deliberate cognitive creativity and its impact on wellbeing and happiness in college students and early career scientists.

Before joining Northeastern University, she taught at MIT, Princeton University, Parsons School of Design, and University College London, among other universities. Since 2020, she has led the postgraduate online course Creativity and Science for PhD biology students at Universidad Nacional de Mar del Plata in Argentina. In 2014, Sheila was recognized as a Fellow member (FHEA) of Advance HE (previously Higher Education Academy) in the UK for her commitment to professionalism in teaching and learning in higher education.


Pontis & Babwahsingh (2023). Information Design Unbound: Key Concepts and Skills for Making Sense in a Changing World. Bloomsbury Visual Arts.

Remington & Pontis (2021). Communicating Knowledge Visually: Will Burtin’s Scientific Approach to Information Design. RIT Press.

Pontis (2018). Making Sense of Field Research: A Practical Guide for Information Designers. Routledge.


Art + Design


  • PhD, Information Design, London College of Communication, University of the Arts London
  • MPhil, Information Design, School of Design & Image, University of Barcelona
  • Postgraduate Diploma, Editorial Techniques, School of Social & Human Sciences, University of Barcelona
  • BA, Graphic Design, School of Architecture, Design & Urbanism, University of Buenos Aires