A selection of responses from this year’s Leadership Survey

How can design schools better prepare their students for leadership?

“Assign more projects that require collaboration with other professionals, real-estate, development and finance students.”

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“I don’t really believe that this is their job. They should be training good designers and communicators, the skills that a particular organization requires of its leaders should be imparted by the firm.”

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“Place more focus on a team environment instead of individual design and problem solving approach.”

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“Schools need to stop teaching students ‘archispeak’, it is appalling and gets worse in the most prestigious schools. Our clients need us to be able to make their lives simpler, not more complex.”

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“Understand the business aspects of our profession. We are under the same pressure as any other commercial enterprise and must be efficient with the resources we have available.”

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“I don’t think it can be taught in the curriculum. The best training is through voluntary activities: AIAS, competitions, other young leaders groups.  The schools need to make more of these opportunities available and encourage students to participate.”

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“Reinforce the criteria that graduation is contingent upon community leadership involvement.”

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“The best schools are preparing future leaders in “design thinking” which is the most important skill to be taught in school. While we can wish that they did more in teaching business, marketing and other practice  skills, there is only so much time in the curriculum and the focus needs to stay on design thinking.”

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“More mandatory management and leadership education. Frankly though most of the leadership preparation comes after school.”

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“Provide leadership and social interaction coursework; provide meaningful examples in the students work for integrated, cross-disciplinary collaboration and decision making — this is the future of the building profession.”

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“I’m not sure design schools are the right place for leadership training. They can teach integrity, a desire for life long learning and communication in addition to technical skills. These are all the basics need for leadership.”

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“I believe there are many leadership opportunities available to students in design schools. It’s up to the student to take advantage of those opportunities. As well, the best and brightest students tend to gravitate towards leadership roles and leadership development opportunities. It’s a bit of survival of the fittest in regards to leadership and I think that’s probably a good model.”

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“The answer is that they don’t need to teach leadership at all. Making it known to future design professionals that they can be leaders is the key.  As it is, most schools focus on the indentured servitude model, which promotes the opposite spirit of leadership.”

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“Provide broader training — including strategic thinking and business basics.”

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“This is NOT a design school issue — it is a personality issue.”