Tom Sofranko’s Essay Published in New Book Developing Creative Thinking in Beginning Design

Tom Sofranko“Blurry Target,” an essay by Tom Sofranko, College of Art & Design associate dean of academics, was published in the recently released book Developing Creative Thinking in Beginning Design (Routledge 2018).

The chapter includes topics “Progenitors of Creativity in Beginning Design” and “Resolving a Pedagogy of Creativity and Structure.”

“Creativity as a pedagogical component of the design studio can confound even the most experienced instructor: we know it’s there but are often challenged to identify its specific components or its operation,” Sofranko writes.

With chapters written by design instructors, Developing Creative Thinking in Beginning Design addresses issues that contribute to deficiencies in teaching creativity in contemporary design programs.

Developing Creative Thinking in Beginning Design Book Cover“Where traditional pedagogies displace creative thinking by placing conceptual abstractions above direct experiential engagement, the approaches presented in this book set forth alternative pedagogies that mitigate student fears and misconceptions to reveal the potency of authentic encounters for initiating creative transformational development,” Routledge stated.

These chapters challenge design pedagogy to address such issues as the spatial body, phenomenological thinking, making as process, direct material engagement and its temporal challenges, creative decision-making and the wickedness of design, and the openness of the creative design problem. In doing so, this book sets out to give greater depth to first design experiences and more effectively enable the breadth and depth of the teacher–student relationship as a means of helping your students develop the capacity for long-term self-transformation.

Sofranko is a professor of the LSU School of Architecture and the associate dean of academics of the LSU College of Art & Design. He served as the interim director of the School of Architecture for four years and has been at LSU since 1992. Sofranko received his Master of Architecture and Bachelor of Architecture from Kent State University. Prior to his arrival at LSU, he worked professionally in Cleveland, Ohio.

His interest in the curriculum and the structure of the school as well as the geography of the region led him to LSU. He is a full member of the graduate faculty and primarily teaches design studios in both the undergraduate and graduate programs. His research has been a combination of architectural design projects and scholarly papers with a focus on beginning design as well as popular cultural and architecture as image. He has been involved with the National Conference on the Beginning Design Student for over 20 years. Most recently his research has focused on the efficacy of techniques for recruiting and retention of students in design. He is credited with starting the school’s Architecture & Design Summer Camp for high school students and is interested in using the camp as a tool for recruiting minority students.