Mission & Vision

Mission, Vision, and Values

NewSchool’s mission is to nurture and inspire design-minded learners to become citizen architects and designers, confirming the school’s commitment to the principle that “higher education represents both a public good and a private benefit.” Established in the tradition of John Dewey’s belief in “learning by doing,” our mission is supported by a creative faculty composed of experienced architects, designers, construction managers, and other practicing professionals who develop creative mentorships with their students.

Faculty employ a project-based pedagogy focused on human centered design thinking and making and the belief that for design to be successful it must focus on user needs, exemplifying our humanistic approach to design education. That focus is encapsulated in day-to-day operations by NewSchool’s guiding principle of being Human-Centered by Design.

NewSchool’s operational posture, established by faculty working closely with institutional leadership and staff, consists of four pillars grounded in preparation for practice. The following diagram illustrates the relationships between the academic pillars of Human Welfare, Environmental Empathy, Community + Industry Engagement, and Data + Technology with the four faculty affinity areas: Design + Technology, Design + Strategy, Design + Health, and Design + Environment. Academic pillars serve to identify and support core institutional values for our students, which grounds program curricula, while affinity areas provide the driving focus for research and scholarship which grounds faculty research and scholarship.

Learning & Making Culture

As a student-centric learning institution focused on practitioner-based design education, NewSchool champions a learning-through-making and thinking culture. NewSchool’s location offers students and faculty an active urban laboratory in which to speculate on the growth and development of San Diego as a model for sustainable urbanization and environmentally conscious design. NewSchool’s location allows for an understanding of the highly specialized ecologies of the southern California region including Tijuana and Baja California; diverse environments ranging from the oceanic to mountainous to desert ecosystems. As part of this cultural and biotic diversity, NewSchool champions a studio and learning culture that encourages professionalism and collegiality across disciplines to shape a transdisciplinary exchange of ideas that advocates life-long learning.

The collaboration between student and instructor is the foundation of the studio learning experience. For studio to be successful, instructors and students need to keep an open dialogue about their expectations and their responsibilities. While these guidelines do not cover every aspect of studio culture, it is important to realize that the students and the instructors together shape the studio atmosphere.

Being Human-Centered By Design

NewSchool’s pedagogic value of being Human-Centered by Design is best expressed as the merging of scientific inquiry and humanistic inquiry into a structured triad along with design inquiry. We understand design to be an integrative process on equal footing with inquiry through the sciences and humanities as applied within