Perkiomen School News

Perkiomen School Launches New Design Institute

Continuing to evolve a student-directed, authentic approach to education, Perkiomen School launches the Design Institute, one of four unique deep learning paths, to be offered at the start of the 2022-2023 academic year.   

Perkiomen School’s new institute, driven by a focus on design, offers students an opportunity to expand and evolve their unique artistic vision. Through exploration of the design process and mastering the fundamental elements and principles of art, students will maximize their creative potential.

The Design Institute will join Perkiomen’s Artificial Intelligence, Entrepreneur, and Medical Institutes as signature programs that offer pathways for students to develop distinct and creative competencies and prepare for the hybrid jobs of the future.

“Creativity and curiosity are at the foundation of the new Institute,” says Mark A. Devey, Head of School. “The addition of this fourth institute will allow even more students to focus within an area that we value – arts and design. It broadens the scope of our other Institutes and will provide an opportunity for those students to weave the arts into all disciplines.”

Design is a natural fit for Perkiomen School, as its Institute Model of education is built on the iterative process and incorporates design thinking elements, which help students apply creativity to effectively solve real-world problems. 

“Design is fundamental in all facets of industry today,” says Devey. “We are witnessing how the field is being called upon to address complex issues in all areas of life. As the workplace evolves to rely on multidisciplinary strengths, we want to provide students with experiences now that will prepare them to shape the future.”

Academic offerings include the Foundations of Design course as well as cross-listed courses like Graphic Design & Marketing, Industrial Design & Prototyping, Web Design, and Engineering.  These courses allow for students to customize their path, while traditional liberal arts classes lay a foundation for learning, emphasizing critical thinking, context, and culture. Faculty will continue to promote active inquiry and problem-solving through a variety of classroom teaching styles and specialized experiences like master classes, visiting artists, and field trips.

The culmination of the Design Institute path is graduating with Design Distinction, after successfully completing a capstone project for exhibition or presentation. 

“We are excited about the opportunities this Institute will provide for Perkiomen to develop partnerships,” says Devey.  “This region and Pennsylvania as a whole are hubs for exploring the fine arts, architecture, textile design, galleries, museums and more. Making connections with artists, designers, and influencers, and experiencing their work firsthand, and offering visiting artists and master classes, has great potential to be the inspiration behind our students’ creativity and vision.”  

According to The National Art Education Association (NAEA), research on employment trends and anticipated new careers shows that visual arts education is essential to every learner’s educational foundation for future employment in an increasingly complex and interconnected world. It develops skills of deeper understanding and divergent thinking. It also plays a vital role in cultivating collaboration, communication, critical thinking, curiosity, innovation, and problem solving, which are key competencies desired by employers. Visual arts education also develops emotional intelligence, the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically.

“As we prepare students for the new economy and an evolving society it is clear that fostering and enhancing creativity is ever more necessary for success,” says Shaun T. Yorgey, Director of Strategic Innovation. “A recent survey of CEOs revealed that creativity is the number one characteristic sought when hiring.  It is with great enthusiasm that Perkiomen offers the Design Institute to our students to provide support and celebrate their artistic endeavors. We provide opportunities for current and future students to explore their creativity and rigorously use human-centered design.”