Letter from Department Chair Lauren Kalman

We have new exhibitions in the galleries, new students in the classrooms, new faculty, and a new name! We started the academic year as the James Pearson Duffy Department of Art, Art History, and Design. WSU’s Board of Governors unanimously approved the name change on April 28, 2023, during its regularly scheduled meeting. It went into effect this fall. The name change fulfilled an outstanding goal that was established by the department faculty in the Department of Art and Art History 2016 Academic Program Review Self-Assessment.

About Our New Name

The faculty, staff, and I all strongly believe that our new name will better advertise our offerings and recruit students interested in design. With our new name, we are now better communicating the structure of our department and the degrees that we offer. It also reflects our growing number of design students, which now represent the majority of our department majors. Our bylaws formally recognize the 3 curricular groups: Fine Art, Art History, and Design. In 2017, we began offering a BFA-Design degree which is our newest undergraduate degree program. The BFA-Design has proven to be a highly popular undergraduate degree, and we have already enrolled nearly 300 design students.

The BFA-Design degree includes concentrations in Graphic, Design, Interior Design, Industrial Design, and Fashion Design and Merchandising. We also offer a BA and BS in Design and Merchandising. Additionally, we have a growing roster of Minors in Design including Textile Design, Industrial Design, Interior Design, Illustrations, Graphic Design, Fashion Design, and Design.

New Faculty

This fall semester, we welcomed three new department members. Dr. Yasemin Gencer is a Pre-Faculty Fellow and a Historian of Islamic Art. As an adjunct faculty member, Dr. Gencer taught Islamic Art History courses at Wayne State University since Fall 2020 and recently received a General Education Teaching Award for her Islamic Art and Architecture course. In Graphic Design, we welcome Associate Professor, Wesley Taylor. Taylor is an interdisciplinary designer, fine artist, musician, and curator. Finally, in Core/Foundations, we welcome the interdisciplinary artist, Assistant Professor of Teaching, Heather Mawson. We are thrilled to have such exceptional talent join our department.

New Student Energy and Momentum

It’s our mission to help students discover their creative potential, in ways that are hands-on, interactive, and challenging. This semester especially, it has been thrilling to see a rejuvenation of activities on campus and in our studios. Our students have been busy in their studios, labs, and classrooms, planning pop-up exhibitions, fashion shows, art sales, and open studios that occur throughout the year. It is an invigorating time in the Department of Art, Art History, and Design and it is so wonderful to feel the energy on campus from all our students, faculty, and staff– new and returning.



Lauren Kalman

← Back to listing