As the chair and professor of the Graphic Design program, Behnoush McKay has been dedicated to creating curriculum and experiences that develop and nurture the talents of the next generation of graphic design professionals. “I believe it is paramount to nurture students’ individual capabilities and help them develop throughout their education so that they can transition from a learning environment and bring their potential into reality,” says McKay.
That reality involves a fast-changing profession that requires an education that will prepare students for the changes ahead of them. The Graphic Design program provides opportunities for students to engage in real-world client projects, as well as experimental projects that push the boundaries of design. The curriculum also emphasizes the importance of research in creating meaningful design. McKay says, “In order to create successful campaigns that meet the needs of the client and their audiences, a graphic designer needs to understand how to gather information from multiple sources and transfer that to the design solution.”
McKay’s own journey to the leadership of the Graphic Design program began with a thirst for knowledge and attraction to beauty that shaped her sense of purpose both in design and teaching. “Attraction to beauty, on one level, manifests itself in love and an impulse to express beauty through the visual arts,” she says. “On another level, it is the response to the beauty of an idea and search for order and meaning in life.”
She adds, “Individuals must be charged with a sense of purpose that compels them both to transform themselves and to contribute to the advancement of thier profession.” At Woodbury, the Graphic Design program has transformed the lives of its graduates. They have won numerous international and national design awards, been recognized as up-and-coming creative talents by various organizations, and have established successful careers in major design firms.
“One of my favorite days of the year is graduation day,” says McKay. “I love the contrast between the shy incoming freshmen and the confident senior students who boldly take initiative in conveying their voices. I’m always sad to see them go, but I know they leave with the knowledge and skills to bring their potential into reality.”