After an extensive international search, ArtCenter’s Board of Trustees named educator and industrial designer Karen Hofmann as the College’s president and chief executive officer. When Hofmann assumed the ArtCenter presidency on July 1, 2022, she captured several culturally significant milestones as the first woman, alumna and Provost to hold the position.
Hofmann had previously served as ArtCenter Provost since July 2018. Some of her most significant accomplishments include creating a more cohesive and inclusive Chairs Council, leading a process to envision the "Future of Education 2030" and contributing to the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Action Plan (both of which have informed the College's strategic agenda), expanding ArtCenter Exhibitions, focusing ArtCenter Online initiatives, and paving the way for an omnichannel approach to education. Most notably, Hofmann has helped lead the College through a pandemic, pivoting to a remote teaching and learning environment, and ensuring a safe return to campus.
Prior to being named provost, she served as chair of ArtCenter’s Product Design department since 2010 and began teaching at the College in 2002. In 2018, she was presented with the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA) Education Award in recognition of her significant and distinguished contributions to the field of industrial design education. She was similarly recognized in 2010, when DesignIntelligence, published by the Design Futures Council, named her one of their Most Admired Educators.
During her tenure on faculty and as chair at ArtCenter, Hofmann led numerous initiatives including the development and launch of the Color, Materials and Trends Exploration Laboratory (CMTEL), the Wearables & Soft Goods concentration in the product design program, and co-led a unique study abroad program with INSEAD International Business School. She is the founder of the innovative project model DesignStorms® (three-day creative immersions with ArtCenter faculty and students) collaborating with corporate partners exploring future market opportunities and emerging technologies. She is a co-creator of ArtCenter’s executive education programs focused on design-driven workshops and creative leadership seminars. Outside of education, her expertise is in design research, strategy and insights. She spent several years at Johnson Controls Automotive Systems Group in Advanced Design and Research and for the last decade, she has been teaching and consulting.
Hofmann graduated from ArtCenter in 1997 with a bachelor of science degree in product design and earned a bachelor of arts degree in psychology from California State University, Northridge in 1990. She currently serves on the advisory board of the MADWORKSHOP Foundation, supporting artists and designers who will make radical, sustainable and lasting contributions to the design discourse and society at large. She serves as a board member of Full Circle which provides scholarships and funding for programs to support ArtCenter students during their educational journey.
We have a responsibility as creatives to help the world solve its greatest problems.Karen HofmannArtCenter President