Best Practices in Interdisciplinary Design

2015 sec symposium

From left: Amy Blacketter, Tory Cunningham, Professor Lynne Baggett, and Blaine Goitia at the 2015 SEC Symposium

Lynne Baggett, LSU School of Art graphic design professor, and undergraduate students in the Graphic Design Student Office (GDSO) attended and presented at the 2015 Southeastern Conference (SEC) Symposium in Atlanta, Georgia, September 20–22.

The subject of the symposium was Creativity, Innovation & Entrepreneurship: Driving a 21st-Century Economy. Speakers gave lectures and participated in panel discussions on how the topic related to their universities. Baggett was invited to present on a panel about “Best Practices in Interdisciplinary Design” with Dr. Bryan Chin, professor of mechanical engineering at Auburn University; Dr. Andrew Dewar, co-director of the Creative Campus Program at the University of Alabama; and Dr. Scott Nesbit, assistant professor of digital humanities at the University of Georgia. The panel was moderated by Dr. Gerard Coté, director of the Center for Remote Healthcare Technology at Texas A&M University.

The panel addressed how the accelerating advancement of society is driven more and more by interdisciplinary discoveries that require not only an understanding of design principles but also integration of the human experience. Universities are realizing the power of incorporating interdisciplinary design into core elements of their education and research missions. The session explored best practices in implementing interdisciplinary design programs across academia.

Baggett discussed the collaborative and interdisciplinary opportunities within GDSO. Initially funded by a faculty research grant proposal in 1998, GDSO provides practical experience in an undergraduate student–run design practice that functions as a professional graphic design studio within the LSU School of Art. GDSO focuses on producing communications materials for the LSU College of Art & Design, with some projects involving multi-disciplinary collaborations with other departments and units across campus and the community. Students learn valuable skills by interacting with fellow designers, clients, printers, and professionals.

She presented examples and case studies of successful designs from the past few semesters.

  • 2015 Winter issue of Quad Magazine

    2015 Winter issue of Quad Magazine

    Quad is a biannual publication produced by the LSU College of Art & Design intended to showcase the achievements and activities of the college to alumni, donors, and friends. It is produced internally and designed by GDSO, involving graphic designers and photographers from the School of Art. Quad magazine received awards at the local and national level from the Advertising Federation of Greater Baton Rouge and Graphic Design USA, who honored the publication as one of the winners of the 2015 American Inhouse Design Awards for best editorial design.

  • Into the Abyss was a collaboration of the LSU School of Art; GDSO; Courtney Barr, associate professor of graphic design; and Robert Carney, professor of oceanography and coastal sciences funded by a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The project included a juried art exhibition that challenged art students to produce creative pieces in all media to convey scientific discoveries about marine biodiversity. After a series of lectures by Carney, students submitted a variety of creative media ranging from print, Web, video, and animation to and three-dimensional works. GDSO developed the promotional materials for the competition and lecture series, exhibition display signage, exhibition video footage, and a website.
LSU BFA Studio Art Graphic Design

Kara Breaux – Into The Abyss

“Participating on this panel was a unique opportunity to share our experiences with other educators applying similar ideas within their own fields,” said Baggett. “We realize that the GDSO model has the potential for greater impact on research and instruction if offered to a larger body of students and faculty from a variety of disciplines. GDSO links students and faculty together in a shared physical space to create a collaborative learning environment to produce award-winning projects that could not be achieved individually.”

Through these interactions students receive a comprehensive education about professional practices in graphic design and its many associated fields. Baggett’s case studies examined the integrated environment of GDSO, a community of thinkers, learners, and makers with complimentary but disparate levels of expertise.


In addition to the many panels and lectures, the symposium included student-focused events: a graduate school interest mixer and creative works exhibition. Three LSU graphic design students and GDSO members—senior Amy Blacketter and juniors Tory Cunningham and Blaine Goitia—attended the symposium and showcased their work in the Embassy Hall of the International Tower of the Hyatt Regency Atlanta during the SEC Presidents, Chancellors & Provosts reception. The creative works exhibition included designs, drawings, sculptures, blueprints, and more. Blacketter showcased a vector-inspired image that focused on the culture surrounding Louisiana, which influences the city of Baton Rouge; Cunningham exhibited a Harry Potter–themed digital work that portrays Emma Watson’s character, Hermione Granger, as a punk rocker; and Goitia featured a 1967 Dodge A100 van—something he is passionate about—created and illustrated as a detailed vector.

“It was nice to see the other SEC schools’ designs, artwork, and level of creativity,” said Blacketter, “and to get the chance to network with faculty from other graduate programs.”

“Being able to venture out to Atlanta and represent the School of Art was an honor that we were glad to accept,” added Cunningham. “It was great being able to display our designs along with students from other SEC colleges who put as much effort into their work as we did.”

Visit for more information about the LSU School of Art and the Graphic Design Student Office.

More about the SEC Symposium

Gathering leading scholars in relevant fields from across the southeastern United States, the annual SEC Symposium is an academic event intended to address a significant scholarly issue by utilizing the range of disciplinary strengths of all SEC universities. The event is one of several activities undertaken by SECU, the academic initiative of the Southeastern Conference. Visit for more information.