Scholarship

Research presentations, publications & projects


Research Statement (PDF)

Conference Presentations

AASHE15

Co-creating sustainable futures: American and Middle Eastern visual design students explore behavior change

2015 Association for the Advancement for Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) Conference

Minneapolis, MN | October 2015

Co-Author/Co-Presenter
with Prof. Denielle Emans
and selected students from VCU Qatar

Denielle Emans' AASHE recap


AASHE15

Designing collaborations: proposing a campus sustainability pedagogy network

2015 Association for the Advancement for Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) Conference

Minneapolis, MN | October 2015

Author/Presenter



APHA

Adopt-a-Font Condensed

American Printing History Association (APHA)

Rochester, NY | October 2015

Co-Author/Co-Presenter
with Prof. Nancy Bernardo of RIT

Example Projects


LearnxDesign

Experiential Elements of High-To-Low-Context Cultures

LearnxDesign: the 3rd International Conference for Design Education Researchers
Local and Global Connections to Design Education

Chicago, IL | June 2015

Co-Author/Co-Presenter
with Prof. Denielle Emans of VCU Qatar

Proceedings Excerpt


AIGA Design Educators Conference Toronto

Creating significant change through redirective design pedagogy

Spaces of Learning / AIGA Design Educators Conference
Interpretive Spaces

Toronto, Canada | April 2015

Co-Author/Co-Presenter
with Prof. Denielle Emans of VCU Qatar

Conference site


AIGA Design Educators Conference Portland

Click. Connect. Crit: Teaching Global Collaboration for International Design Innovation

New Ventures / AIGA Design Educators Conference
Intersections with Global Communities

Portland, OR | September 2014

Co-Author/Co-Presenter
with Prof. Denielle Emans of VCU Qatar

Conference schedule


Sustainability at the Forefront: Educating Students through Complex Challenges in Design & Communication

Just Sustainability: Hope for the Commons

Seattle University Center for Environmental Justice and Sustainability

Seattle, WA | August 2014

Co-Author/Co-Presenter: paper presentation with Professor Denielle Emans of Virginia Commonwealth University Qatar and Dr. Kelly Norris Martin of Rochester Institute of Technology.

Conference site


Cross-cultural Design Collaborations in Water Sustainability

Just Sustainability: Hope for the Commons

Seattle University Center for Environmental Justice and Sustainability

Seattle, WA | August 2014

Co-Author/Co-Presenter: paper presentation with Professor Denielle Emans of Virginia Commonwealth University Qatar

Session description


Matters of Responsibility: Prioritizing Sustainability in Design Curricula Across the Globe

Arts in Society

Rome, Italy | June 2014

Co-Author/Co-Presenter: Paper presentation with Professor Denielle Emans and Dr. Kelly Norris Martin



Intercultural by Design: Exploring Virtually Mediated Cross-Cultural Relations Between Middle Eastern and Western Design Students

University and College Designers Association Design Education Summit

Madison, WI | May 2014

Co-Author/Co-Presenter: Presentation with Professor Denielle Emans.

Conference schedule


Anything but the Color Green: Introducing Sustainability into Project-Based Visual Communication Courses

University and College Designers Association Design Education Summit

Madison, WI | May 2014

Co-Author/Co-Presenter: Presentation with Professor Denielle Emans and Dr. Kelly Norris Martin.

Conference schedule


City Reflections: Design collaborations for cross-cultural learning

The 2nd Int’l Conference for Design Education Researchers

Oslo, Norway | May 2013

Co-Author/Co-Presenter: Paper presentation with Professor Denielle Emans.

View Abstract


8,092-mile Collaboration: a cross-cultural design education experiment between students in San Francisco and Dubai

Geographics: Design, Education, and the Transnational Terrain / AIGA Design Educators Conference

Honolulu, HI | December 2012

Co-Author/Co-Presenter: Presentation with Professor Denielle Emans.

About the conference


Design & Emotion Poster Session

Mapping Insights to Product Strategy: Emotional Targets for the Future of Learning

8th Int’l Conf. on Design & Emotion

London, UK | September 2012

Co-Author/Co-Presenter: Poster session with Alison Meier.



Advocating for a Visual Communication Initiative across the Curriculum

The 6th International Conference for Design Principles & Practices

Los Angeles, CA | January 2012

Co-Author/Co-Presenter: Paper presentation with Dr. Kelly Norris Martin

View Abstract

Workshops

AIGA Student Chapter Workshop

Presenting yourself & your work

AIGA Student Chapter Guest Lecture Series

Rochester Institute of Technology | March 2015

Invited speaker





Design & Emotion Workshop

Why-finding: Exploring Logic & Emotion for Real-World Product Strategy

8th Int’l Conf. on Design & Emotion

London, UK | September 2012

Co-Author/Co-Presenter: Pre-conference workshop with Alison Meier



Design Principles & Practices Workshop

Brainstorming Possibilities for Teaching Visual Communication Sensibility across Disciplines

The 6th International Conference for Design Principles & Practices

Los Angeles, CA | January 2012

Co-Author/Co-Presenter: Workshop with Dr. Kelly Norris Martin

View Abstract


Webvisions Workshop

Beyond Usable: Research with Results

Webvisions

Portland, Or | 2011

Assistant workshop facilitator with Kelly Goto & Amy Bickerton




Webvisions Workshop

Beyond Usable: Research with Results &
Seismic Shifts: The Future of the Global Mobile Eco-System

Webvisions

Portland, Or | 2011

Assistant workshop facilitator with Kelly Goto & Amy Bickerton

Publications

Sustainability at the forefront: educating students through complex challenges in visual communication and design

Interdisciplinary Environmental Review

In-press, Summer 2015

Kelly M. Murdoch-Kitt, Denielle Emans & Dr. Kelly Norris Martin.

This paper is a revised and expanded version of a paper entitled ‘Sustainability at the forefront: educating students through complex challenges in design and communication’ presented at Just Sustainability: Hope for the Commons, Seattle, Washington, USA, August 2014.

ABSTRACT | Although a range of academic disciplines in higher education are now introducing sustainability into their curricula, the need to present this concept to graphic design and visual communication students is especially important. These fields influence trends in society and culture and have great potential to impact decision-making for individuals, corporate practices, policies, and politics. Recent workforce surveys (Adecco Group, 2013; Workforce Solutions Group, 2013) reveal that employers across many fields value ‘soft skills’ more than technical skills. Acquiring these competencies can stem from experience in sustainable development and include: applying human-centred research methodology; systems-based thinking; awareness of human behaviours and impacts; tackling complex problems and employing creative approaches to solutions. Although these skills make students more competitive in the workforce, recent graduates often lack these capabilities. […]


Experiential Elements of High-To-Low-Context Cultures

LearnxDesign: Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference for Design Education Researchers, Vol. III

June 2015

Kelly M. Murdoch-Kitt & Denielle Emans

ABSTRACT | Intercultural design collaboration (IDC) is a cross-cultural exchange that can take place between visual, spatial, product and digital designers. IDC involves a shared approach to gathering information, making decisions, creative production, critique, and developing design solutions. IDC methodologies can provide designers with the cross-cultural experiences and competencies necessary to navigate an increasingly globalized landscape. This qualitative study combines Edward T. Hall’s theories of high- and low-context cultures with Elizabeth Tunstall’s ‘Five Experiential Elements of Community’ to explore the impacts and outcomes of IDC between two geographically distinct groups of students and faculty […]

Full Paper


My Water, My Change: Confronting Global Water Concerns through Cross-Cultural Collaboration

Design With the other 90%: Cumulus Johannesburg Conference Proceedings

September 2014

Denielle Emans & Kelly M. Murdoch-Kitt

ABSTRACT | Water is vital to life; this is a simple fact, but human behaviors and relationships with water are increasingly complex. Designers at the undergraduate level should learn to confront the complexities of water scarcity and conservation, as well as how to discuss, explore and design for these issues in a global context. In response to this need, two design educators fused visual communication, international relations, and two geographically distinct graphic design courses to address the theme of water sustainability. Through an ongoing series of cross-cultural virtual collaborations between classrooms located in the Middle East and North America, students created interactive and experiential solutions to understand the ecological centrality and social importance of water […]

Full Paper


Design Nexus: integrating cross-cultural learning experiences into graphic design education

Studies in Material Thinking, Volume 11: Re / materialising Design Education Futures

September 2, 2014

Kelly M. Murdoch-Kitt & Denielle Emans

ABSTRACT | As twenty-first century design professionals engage in an expanding global landscape, prowess in international systems and marketplaces is more necessary than ever before. Designers must not only understand how to connect with widespread audiences in visual terms, but employ a range of communication skills to collaborate practically with international partners. From large-scale initiatives to community-based, grassroots projects; creating for and alongside different cultures is increasingly commonplace in professional design practice. In this regard, the importance of culture, language, religion, tradition, and gender is not only paramount to effective communication with each unique audience, but is of utmost importance to collaborations with multinational business partners, interdisciplinary team-members, and community participants […]

Full Paper


City reflections: design collaborations for cross-cultural learning

Proceedings of the 2 nd International Conference for Design Education Researchers

May 14, 2013

Kelly M. Murdoch-Kitt & Denielle Emans

ABSTRACT | Design educators must learn to develop and lead successful intercultural projects and exchanges for students entering into a globally connected and diverse profession. Teaching students to approach problems by using collaborative and interpersonal skills provides them with durable assets to better understand international audiences, colleagues, and perspectives. The proliferation and integration of first-hand cross-cultural experiences into design curricula can result in innovation and knowledge sharing, indicating synergistic properties in which the whole is greater than the sum of the parts […]



A Visual World Demands Design Sense: Advocating for Visual Communication Across the Curriculum

International Journal of Design Education

2013

Dr. Kelly Norris Martin & Kelly M. Murdoch-Kitt

ABSTRACT | Would the world be different if everyone learned design thinking and visual communication skills? Speaking and writing have long been prized in academia and business, resulting in many American universities implementing communication across their curriculum programs. However, these programs exclude visual communication / design knowledge. We propose that basic design knowledge is necessary for higher education graduates, regardless of their disciplines […]

Full Abstract



Mapping Insights to Product Strategy: Emotional Targets for the Future of Learning

Proceedings of the 8 th International Conference on Design & Emotion

September 14, 2012

Kelly M. Murdoch-Kitt, Alison Meier & Kelly Goto

ABSTRACT | Our design and research firm partnered with a major educational publisher to understand the current state of learning in a college environment and gather insights about unmet needs. We sought to translate emotional insights into actionable ideas for their product. We created a map that connects key findings from the in-person student interviews and emotional targets, with the goal of informing the client’s product development strategy for the Future of Learning.



Virtual communication, physical community : leveraging social tools to build a sustainable food network in Raleigh, North Carolina

Master's Thesis // North Carolina State University

May 2009

Kelly M. Murdoch-Kitt

ABSTRACT | This design investigation leverages virtual and face-to-face communications to intervene in two concepts that have become opaque, distant, and fractured in American culture: food and the local community. Food in 21st century American culture is a myth constructed by science, advertising and marketing, from which the hegemony of industrial agriculture has emerged. Conversely, many of the people who identify with the sustainable agriculture movement are currently a latent group. By visually connecting different levels of participants to information and to each other, this latent group comes into existence as a physical community linked and reinforced by ongoing virtual communications […]

Full Paper

Roles in Collaborative Grant-funded Research at RIT

Modular Steps Towards Broadening Expertise In Critical Infrastructure Protection

National Science Foundation, DUE-1303269

Principal Investigator: Prof. Sumita Mishra,
Computing Security, RIT

My role: Video Project Advisor, supporting the CIAS student team of Maria Ace (Graphic Design major) and Patrick Hogue (Live Action major)

I currently serve as Video Project Advisor for the NSF-funded project, “Modular Steps Towards Broadening Expertise In Critical Infrastructure Protection,” (CIP) led by Computing Security Professor Sumita Mishra. I recruited Graphic Design and Live Action students to work together on the project, which involves considering and creating new ways to teach undergraduates about the United States’ critical infrastructure. The students I am supervising are investigating humor and mixed media approaches to introduce classes to the concept of critical infrastructure protection through the design of an instructional video. Their final video should be ready for the Fall 2015 term.

Read More (PDF)

Project Website


Gamified Digital Forensics Course Modules for Undergraduates

National Science Foundation, DUE-1400567

Principal Investigator: Prof. Yin Pan,
Computing Security, RIT

My role: UI/UX Design Advisor, supporting the Spring 2015 student team of Robin Matson and Madison Behringer (Graphic Design) and the Summer 2015 student team of Tori Bonagura and Annie Wong (Graphic Design)

I am currently engaged in applied research in learning through several projects with faculty and students from different disciplines at RIT. “Gamified Digital Forensics Course Modules for Undergraduates,” an NSF-funded project led by Prof. Yin Pan in Computing Security, brings together students and faculty in Interactive Games and Media, Computing Security and Graphic Design. Together, they are exploring how students can effectively learn about digital forensics through the interface design and mechanics of a detective game. I recruited two teams of undergraduate design students to work on this project, and am user experience and user interface design advisor

Read More (PDF)


In-Progress Grant Proposal

Codename: Purple (Full title will be released when funded)

Submitted to:A federal funding agency (in review)

Proposal Submitted: June 2015

Principal Investigator: Prof. Owen Gottlieb,
Interactive Games & Media, RIT

Co-PIs: Jessica Bayliss (Interactive Games & Media), Kelly Murdoch-Kitt (Graphic Design), Ian Schreiber (Interactive Games & Media), David Simkins (Interactive Games & Media)

In Spring 2015 I recruited a team of Graphic Design students and led them in an independent study to create the visual design elements for a game prototype as part of a grant proposal spearheaded by Prof. Owen Gottlieb in Interactive Games and Media. The game, a result of interdisciplinary collaboration between students and faculty from Interactive Games and Media and Graphic Design, explores collaboration and cooperation, informed by historical legal and religious communal systems. I am a co-PI on a federal grant proposal (currently in review) for funding to transform the physical card game into a mobile game prototype.

Read More (PDF)

Project Website


Projects & Internal Funding

EUREKA! The Social Good Interdisciplinary Design Blitz

Provost's Learning Innovation Grant

April 2015

Awarded by Rochester Institute of Technology

Co-PIs Kelly M. Murdoch-Kitt & Lorrie Frear, School of Design

PROPOSAL EXCERPT | Unlike any other learning activity presently offered within the School of Design, EUREKA! is intentionally interdisciplinary, collaborative, and community-oriented.[...] It is a 48-hour design charrette that provides a unique opportunity for students and faculty from all five School of Design disciplines to engage in collaborative and creative problem-solving outside of the traditional classroom environment. [...] EUREKA! begins when faculty and guest facilitators present the group with a large, community-oriented challenge; form teams of students who don’t know each other; and lead the teams in a series of exercises, games, and productive working sessions that encourage innovative thinking, teamwork, and problem-solving. EUREKA! culminates in a public presentation, during which each team shares its “big idea,” a thoughtful, well-executed concept that addresses the initial challenge.


Faculty Development Grant


January 2015

Awarded by Rochester Institute of Technology's College of Imaging Arts & Sciences

This grant enabled me to travel to San Francisco, CA to attend Interaction15, the annual conference of the Interaction Design Association (IxDA). Not only were the conference sessions informative and inspirational, but I was also able to visit several design studios and network with interaction design professionals on behalf of my students. I have brought several conference attendees into my classroom as virtual guest lecturers and have connected students with some of the studios for job and internship possibilities. The connections with industry professionals have helped students make deeper connections to course material, such as in my collaborative advanced IxD course which is currently exploring "the future of wellness" (Spring 2015). While in town, I was also invited to guest lecture at Amy Bickerton and Lauren Ruiz Chapman's Design Research Methods course at California College of the Arts (pictured).


Exploring cross-disciplinary sustainability pedagogy at RIT to assess potential for a future campus network

Seed funding

May 2014

Awarded by Rochester Institute of Technology

PROPOSAL EXCERPT | This project investigates how applying sustainable thinking across the university could positively impact undergraduates’ learning experiences through preliminary collection and synthesis of existing course information. It will also explore the feasibility of designing an interactive resource for RIT faculty and students, with the goals of promoting sustainable topics within course curricula across the university, and expanding multidisciplinary collaborative opportunities.

Full Proposal PDF


Explorations in Graphic Design & Sustainability: Save Ritchie and Gulf to Great Lakes

Interactive Learning Grant

May 2014

Awarded by Rochester Institute of Technology Division of Student Affairs

Funding for special exhibition and presentation of student projects, Save Ritchie and Gulf to Great Lakes, and closing reception. Faculty and staff from the following areas were in attendance: Graphic Design, Industrial Design, Engineering, Environmental Science, Public Policy, Communication, Sustainability, Sponsored Research Services, including Senior Associate Dean and Professor of Science, Technology & Society/Public Policy and Associate Provost of International Education and Global Programs.


Faculty Development Grant


Dec 2013

Awarded by Rochester Institute of Technology's College of Imaging Arts & Sciences

This grant enabled me to travel to An Event Apart, an influential web and UX design conference. Inspired by one of the keynote presentations, I wrote a new project for my junior class (GRDE-302, Web & User Interface Design). We explored four "under-appreciated" spaces on campus as a class: the community garden, campus nature trails, Interfaith Center, and Red Barn (climbing gym). Students were then randomly divided into smaller teams and assigned one of the locations. Teams were charged with crafting a user-centered virtual experience of that place, considering different approaches and meanings based not only on the users' device context (e.g. phone vs. desktop), but also their physical context. For example, users' needs might differ based on proximity to the location—someone could be planning a visit from home, or already on-site at the location. Based on the outcomes of the projects and the students' self-assessments, this challenge seemed to expand students' definitions of what they imagine to be possible for web-based experiences. Browse some of their projects on the Teaching page.