Introducing Our New Lighting Design Minor

July 31, 2019

A new minor being offered in the College of Design this fall will provide graduate and undergraduate students across the University with the opportunity to study new design and technological advances in the field of lighting.

Created by Professors Abimbola Asojo (Interior Design) and Mary Guzowski (Architecture) and funded in part by the Nuckolls Fund for Lighting Education, the new Lighting Design Minor is the first lighting degree program at the University of Minnesota and the only lighting program within design schools of the Upper Midwest region.

“This new minor fills a gap in our curriculum,” explained Asojo. “It will enable students to explore the intersections between lighting and their primary degree, including programs such as interior design, architecture, product design, human factors, theater design, among other related degrees,” she continued.

To create the new minor, Asojo and Guzowski consolidated existing courses offered in their respective programs and added new courses to address emerging topics in the lighting industry. “Lighting is both an art and a science. The new courses we’ve created will add STEM content that focuses on new and emerging technologies in the lighting industry and practice,” said Guzowski. Students within the new minor will also collaborate across disciplines and will work with local lighting practitioners.

“We are excited to provide a bridge between disciplines within the University and the outside communities of lighting professionals, and we can’t wait to get started working with the inaugural class of students,” concluded Asojo.

When designing for today’s workplace, interior designers are increasingly called upon to think beyond the traditional cubicle and create a more contemporary space. Interior design students in Abimbola Asojo and Justine Pliska’s IDES 2604 experienced this first-hand when they were asked to design a “third place work cafe” as part of a competition from Haworth.

Universal design is the practice of designing an environment in such a way that it is accessible and usable by the greatest number of people possible, no matter their age, cultural background, or ability.

For first year College of Design students, navigating the different design fields can be an intimidating prospect. But College of Design leadership hopes to change that with the introduction of the new topics course DES 1170: Introducing the College of Design.