VCD Professor Honored by International Organization

By: Emily Horne

David Middleton, Associate Professor in Kent State University’s (KSU) School of Visual Communication Design (VCD) is the recipient of the 2012 Distinguished Member Award from SEGD, the Society of Environmental Graphic Design. This was awarded during the SEGD Annual Conference at the Marriott Brooklyn Bridge.

This award honors Middleton for his “outstanding volunteer efforts while significantly contributing to the direction, growth, and excellence of SEGD programs” and recognizes his leadership and “many contributions to the board’s work, as well as many contributions to SEGD’s efforts in EGD education and the establishment of educational programs.”

About six years ago, Middleton was invited to be on the board for SEGD, a small international organization with about 2,000 members in professions such as graphic design, architecture, interior design, and urban planning. Middleton said the group houses many “high-level” people. To Middleton, SEGD is “really about communication and place.”

Over the last ten years, Middleton has made a number of significant contributions to SEGD through his teaching, volunteer work, and board presence. With a high student interest in the organization and its focus, Middleton taught a course for three years in which he brought in professionals as guest lecturers. This interdisciplinary course, with work both in person and through videoconference also included architecture students from the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) and real estate M.B.A. students from DePaul University.

Throughout those three years, he received grant funding to teach the course and immerse the students in significant learning opportunities. Many of Middleton’s students have won awards for their outstanding work and have been published in two books. He said VCD is “really recognized in the field as one of the top schools in this area.”

Almost two years ago, Middleton took a sabbatical in which he began the development of a peer-reviewed journal called Communication and Place. Produced by SEGD, Middleton is the editor. His mission in creating this journal is to share meaningful information that professionals can use. Launching this summer, Middleton hopes this journal will be an opportunity to get graduate students involved as editorial assistants.

Middleton has also contributed to SEGD as a board member. He helped to develop a new position – the Education Director. This position is in charge of managing an interrelationship between all of the roughly 25 academic schools within the organization. This position oversees segdDESIGN, The International Journal of Environmental Graphic Design, and helps to manage the summer conference. In addition, Middleton helped to develop the Education Summit held once a year. This year, the one-day annual conference took place on June 7 in Brooklyn, NY.

Middleton has already been recognized from SEGD in the past for his meaningful contributions. A few years ago he won the “Angel” award for the educational work he has done. Being awarded the Distinguished Member Award is an honor awarded by the board that cannot go to a board member.

“For me it’s a real honor to get this award,” Middleton said, “It’s sort of a humbling thing.” He went on to say that he left the board and received the award the first year.

Currently, Middleton teaches a variety of senior and graduate-level VCD courses and still serves on the academic advisory board for SEGD education. In addition, he is the resident faculty member for the SEGD-Kent Summer Program, now in its eighth year. Typically a two-week program for advanced design students and young professionals, this program features high-level professional designers and researchers.

Middleton hopes to develop an exhibition design course for next year and plans to continue to push educational programs and research. He believes these opportunities show “the reach of college and the range of what visual communication really is.”

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