Fostering Professionalism

DS 78: Proceedings of the 16th International conference on Engineering and Product Design Education (E&PDE14), Design Education and Human Technology Relations, University of Twente, The Netherlands, 04-05.09.2014

Year: 2014
Editor: Erik Bohemia, Arthur Eger, Wouter Eggink, Ahmed Kovacevic, Brian Parkinson, Wessel Wits
Author: Ledsome, Colin
Series: E&PDE
Institution: IED Council Member
Section: Design Education and Design Cultures
Page(s): 244-248
ISBN: 978-1-904670-56-8


The professional instinct isn’t easy to instil in inexperienced students in any field. In sport, to be professional means being good enough to be paid to take part. Professionalism, in most careers, requires expertise of a standard acceptable to other members of the profession, and that each individual accepts responsibility for the results of their decisions. Professions are usually overseen by membership bodies, which act to define and maintain standards. They also have a learned society role in holding conferences and publishing journals and papers. In some fields, being a member of such a body is a legal requirement in order to have a licence to practice. Except in certain specialist roles, designers have no current legal requirement to belong to a professional organization in the UK. However, there is legislation which does impose direct responsibilities on individuals and their employing bodies for any unfortunate consequences of design decisions, making membership of a professional body a prudent option. Undergraduates often have only a vague concept of professionalism and the role of a professional body in setting standards. They have come from a school environment, where passing exams was the measure of achievement, rather than the long term acquisition of knowledge and understanding in applied in a responsible way. This paper will explore the concept of design professionalism and ways of appreciating it for the novice.

Keywords: Human Technology Relations, Design Curriculum, Project Based Learning, Technological Mediation


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