Assistant Professor Non-Tenure, MFA Design Program (History, Theory, Criticism Track)


Founded in 1907, California College of the Arts (CCA) is an independent non-profit art college with undergraduate programs in architecture, design, fine arts, visual studies, and writing and literature.  The college also has graduate programs in architecture, comics, design, interaction design, curatorial practice, design strategy, fine arts, film, visual and critical studies, and writing.  Through these programs, the college has created a dynamic and interdisciplinary environment to fulfill the school’s motto of “Make art that matters.”  Diverse cultural perspectives enrich the CCA community and the college believes that continuing to expand the horizons of the students and faculty is essential to achieving its educational objectives. CCA represents over one hundred years of dedication to its mission, whose character reflects its location in the San Francisco Bay Area, where histories of radical politics and technological innovation inform a culturally rich academic community infused by art schools, research universities, world-renowned museums, galleries, start-ups and community-run institutions. With campuses in Oakland and San Francisco, CCA currently enrolls 1,950 full-time students and is embarking on a major campus planning project that will unify the college in one location and ensure its academic excellence for the next century.


The MFA Design Program is an open site for the investigation of contemporary design practice. Built on a firm foundation of technical skills, pushing the limits of cutting-edge tools and technologies alongside traditional craft-based techniques, MFA Design students work to re-imagine the methods, modes, and meanings of design in contemporary culture. Whether intended to be commercial, civically minded, personal, experimental, or all of these, student work is challenged to be technically sophisticated, culturally engaged, and even socially disruptive. Additionally, we expect student work to be research driven and richly informed based on a thorough examination of users and contexts, as well as formally and conceptually inventive. The MFA Design Program provides its students with foundational technical, formal, and conceptual skills alongside contextual understanding. It prepares its students for a range of personal, private, and public careers in design, including advanced work in creative leadership in commercial, civic, and curatorial arenas. Grounded in personal exploration, the MFA Design Program is educating a new generation of design practitioners and leaders.


CCA seeks an assistant professor to teach in the “Design in Context” track in the MFA Design Program, starting in Fall 2018.

Design in Context

“Design in Context” is the history / theory / criticism track within the MFA Design Program at CCA. It exposes students to major texts and types of writing about design with a particular focus on the strategies and purposes of those writings. The track culminates in thesis research and writing in the final year. These courses help students situate and discuss design practice, including their own, within and against the backdrop of both contemporary practice and culture.

“Design in Context” approaches design practice from a multidisciplinary perspective, and includes a wide range of materials that question the borders and definition of design as a practice. Design writing here is understood by turns as a heuristic for creative practice, a means of professional self-representation, and as a means of cultural reflection about design. The course sequence recognizes that its students are working designers whose practice will include various types of writing. With that in mind, the sequence does not valorize one form of writing about design over any other. Rather, the point is to promote modes of writing appropriate to diverse contexts.

The position requires a commitment to continued professional work and participation in college-wide service. Ranked, non-tenure faculty positions are filled by three-year renewable appointments and specifically designed for regional practitioners. Ranked, non-tenure faculty teach between three classes and four classes per year.


  • PhD with emphasis in Design Studies or an MFA in Design with experience in design writing or curation. Disciplinary affiliation may include history, cultural studies, curatorial studies, history, media studies, philosophy of technology, or some other area relevant to Design

  • At least three years experience in teaching or equivalent professional experience

  • Experience with teaching designers or artists in a creative context

  • Deep understanding of one or more design disciplines is preferred


Commensurate with qualifications and includes a comprehensive benefits package.


Applications must be received by January 17, 2018.


Interested candidates may apply via an online application available at this address:

Qualified applicants must complete the online application by uploading the following materials:

  • One-page cover letter

  • Curriculum vitae

  • Statement of creative and educational philosophy, highlighting areas of pedagogic concentration

  • Examples of course syllabi, student work, and student evaluations from recent courses taught at the college level

  • Three professional references, one preferably academic

EEO Statement

As an educational and cultural institution, California College of the Arts has a responsibility to provide access and opportunities for all people, with special attention to supporting groups historically underrepresented in higher education. We believe that a culturally diverse campus is integral to academic excellence, and our student, faculty, staff, and trustee bodies should reflect the diverse world in which we live, with attention to race, ethnicity, religious creed, national origin, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, and ability. California College of the Arts is an equal opportunity employer and encourages applications from individuals who will contribute to its diversity.