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Coronavirus Information for the UC San Diego Community

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Faculty & Staff

Faculty Positions

Planned Search for Director of the UC San Diego Design Lab

This is an informal notice, issued while awaiting formal approval through the various required committees for the official recruitment advertisement. The Design Lab at the University of California, San Diego is now in its 6th year of operation, established by the chancellor to become a major international center for human-centered design, with the focus upon design as a way of thinking, especially dealing with a people-centered approach to complex sociotechnical systems.  The Design Lab’s founding director, Don Norman, has announced his desire to retire from this position at the end of the 2019-2020 Academic year (June 30, 2020). UC San Diego will perform a major, international search for the new director.

The Design Lab works with all departments and divisions of the University including (but not restricted to) arts and humanities, engineering, global policy and strategy, management, medicine, and social sciences. When it was established there was a deliberate attempt not to become “another design school.” Instead, the goal was to use design as a way of thinking, especially in areas representing complex sociotechnical systems. The design lab neither teaches — nor intends to teach – the traditional craft-based skills of design, but instead, it trains people who can engage in high-level strategic thinking for complex issues. 

The Design Lab now teaches an undergraduate minor and plans to extend its teaching into graduate degrees, such as the MDes and PhD. It also offers an Executive Education program in “Design-Driven Transformation” jointly with UCSD’s Rady School of Management. Whether we chose to offer an undergraduate degree in Design (The BDes?) is under discussion. The argument against this is that for the broad, well-educated 21st-century designer, in-depth knowledge of a different discipline is invaluable: The decision is being left until the new Director is in place. For more information about the Design Lab, see

UC San Diego campus is one of the top research universities in the world. It has world authorities in numerous fields and the climate for interdisciplinary collaborations is high. Although young (it was established in the 1960s, the London-UK based publication, Times Higher Education, ranked UC San Diego “the No. 1 university established between 1945 and 1967.”

We seek a senior, respected person with credentials that will lead to the rank of Full Professor (tenured). The candidate must have completed a terminal degree such as a PhD, MD, MBA, MFA, MDes, or equivalent in their area of expertise at the time of appointment and show great skills in teaching, service, and research. Preferred candidates will have published human-centered research in conferences and/or journal articles in highly-regarded peer-reviewed venues; have supervised and taught graduate and undergraduate students in design-related courses; demonstrated the highest standards of scholarship and professional activity; and contributed to a campus climate that supports equity, inclusion, and diversity. An interdisciplinary perspective and experience with multiple methodologies are highly valued. 

We seek a non-traditional director who wishes to help develop the skills necessary for the 21st century.

The successful applicant will be expected to oversee and help grow a vigorous program of high-quality, externally funded, design research. We are open to many diverse applications of human-centered design. Potential domains for human-centered design research include urban planning, transportation, global health, climate change, cultural heritage, human-robot interaction, data science & visualization, cognition & culture, equity & sustainability, embodied interaction, online learning, crowdsourcing, lifelong learning, informal learning, medical care in resource-limited settings, infectious diseases, and mobile health. Other areas of human-centered design are also welcome: a good place to see the range of activities we contemplate is to look at the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The appointment is expected to begin July 1, 2020, and salary is commensurate with experience and based on the University of California pay scales.  

The University of California, San Diego is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer with a strong institutional commitment to academic excellence and diversity within the faculty, staff, and student body, and to addressing dual-career issues. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, age, or protected veteran status.

DO NOT SUBMIT ANY MATERIALS NOW: Please wait until the formal announcement is published (for example, at and follow the instructions given there for submission of materials to the on-line repository. (Candidates now could be deciding whether to apply, what materials would best present their case, and who they might ask to submit the three to five letters of recommendation.)

Staff Positions

All current positions are filled. Look here for future positions that will be advertised.

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