August 01, 2019

Jennifer May Appointed Executive Director of Designmatters

ArtCenter College of Design Chief Diversity Officer Aaron Bruce announced today that the College has named Jennifer May to the position of executive director of Designmatters. An international initiative that has been leading design for social impact education for more than 15 years, the Designmatters department advances art and design as a force for innovation and social change through research, advocacy and action.

May has served as the interim executive director for the Designmatters team for more than a year.

“Jennifer’s exemplary leadership has allowed ArtCenter students to address diversity, equity, inclusion and social justice challenges locally and globally,” said Bruce. “I am confident that her ongoing collaboration with faculty and staff from across campus will continue to maintain the highest standards of excellence in art and design.”

May’s dedication to the ArtCenter community has resulted in numerous partnerships that have opened doors for outstanding creative and professional outlets for students including ongoing collaborations with the City of Long Beach Innovation Team, Long Beach Police Department, City of Los Angeles Mayor’s Office of Budget and Innovation, City of Santa Monica Office of Civic Wellbeing, United We Stay, COANIQUEM and the J. Craig Venter Institute.

She most recently established a partnership for the College with Cedars Sinai, Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks, Discovery Cube LA and Garmin on a citywide initiative to raise the levels of physical activity among Angelenos and create healthy, vibrant and connected communities in advance of the 2028 Olympics.

In addition to serving as lead for the Designmatters team, May was selected along with 30 other mid-career professionals in Los Angeles as a member of the Coro Southern California LEAD LA Inaugural Cohort for 2018-19. The nine-month intensive leadership training program allowed her to expand her network in public and private sectors while receiving more than 100 hours of adaptive leadership and diversity, equity and inclusion training.

May is currently serving on the editorial team with Mariana Amatullo, Andrew Shea and Bryan Boyer for Global LEAP, a survey of social innovation design case studies from around the world. The project is a follow up to the award-winning publication LEAP Dialogues: Career Pathways in Design for Social Innovation and LEAP Dialogues: The Educator’s Guide, for which May and her fellow editors won the 2018 Design Incubation Design Educator Service Award. Global LEAP will be published in Fall 2020.

She earned her Master of Business Administration from the University of Southern California, Marshall School of Business, where she was a Forté Fellow, an Education Pioneers Graduate Fellow, a member of Beta Gamma Sigma and a Society and Business Fellow in the Brittingham Social Enterprise Lab. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Theatre Management and Marketing from Emerson College, where she received the Dean’s Scholarship.

About Designmatters: Founded in 2001, Designmatters is a groundbreaking, college-wide program that serves all academic disciplines at ArtCenter College of Design. The department sets a global standard for art and design education in social innovation. Designmatters advances art and design as a force for innovation and social change through research, advocacy and action. Designmatters collaborates with nonprofit organizations, industry, and national and international development agencies on immersive, outcome-oriented research and projects. ArtCenter students, alumni and faculty participate in cross-disciplinary design studios, workshops, independent studies, fellowships and internships that yield high impact results which are widely disseminated. In recognition of Designmatters’ leadership, ArtCenter was the first design school to receive Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) status at the United Nations.

About ArtCenter: Founded in 1930 and located in Pasadena, California, ArtCenter College of Design is a global leader in art and design education. ArtCenter offers 11 undergraduate and seven graduate degrees in a wide variety of industrial design disciplines as well as visual and applied arts. In addition to its top-ranked academic programs, the College also serves members of the Greater Los Angeles region through a highly regarded series of year-round continuing education programs for all ages and levels of experience. Renowned for both its ties to industry and its social impact initiatives, ArtCenter is the first design school to receive the United Nations’ Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) status. Throughout the College’s long and storied history, ArtCenter alumni have had a profound impact on popular culture, the way we live and important issues in our society.

Teri Bond
Media Relations Director
ArtCenter College of Design

Photo of Jennifer May, just appointed to lead Designmatters.
ArtCenter has named Jennifer May to the position of executive director of Designmatters. Photo by Tony Di Zinno.