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NewSchool teams up with design schools from Italy, New Zealand

NewSchool of Architecture and Design students will be able to study abroad in Italy and New Zealand and take new courses in design programs beginning next fall.

The school announced Tuesday it is teaming up with Domus Academy in Milan, Italy, and Media Design School in Auckland, New Zealand, to offer students certificates of completion in graphic design and interactive design that will supplement their bachelor’s degrees in these areas.

NewSchool also announced a new bachelor’s degree program in interior design, with an emphasis on global design. Students can begin applying now.

“This is an opportunity for San Diego to become a center of global design education and innovation in design-related fields through our membership in the Laureate International Universities network and collaborations with members of the local design community,” said Steve Altman, president of the East Village-based NewSchool of Architecture and Design, during an event to announce the new programs and collaborations Tuesday evening.

Altman added that Domus Academy and Media Design School were chosen as partners because they both are “world-class” schools that will complement NewSchool’s goals of becoming more than just an architecture school and help San Diego become a “design center” industry hub, much like the local biotech industry.

“You know, the last three or four years I have been promoting the need for us to go beyond architecture and to bring great life to the end-design part of our name,” Altman said after the event. “So, we have been looking for both the right partners and the right programs to do something, and now we have that opportunity.”

Altman said Domus Academy was chosen because it is a “world-class design school and one of the top schools in the world. It’s got a [vast] international student body, and they teach all of their courses in English.”

Alberto Bonisoli, chief academic officer of the Laureate Italian Art and Design Education, was at the Tuesday event and said that of Domus Academy's 300 students, 9 percent are Italian. Students come from 40 different countries, and the academy was named one of the top 30 design schools in the world by Business Week in 2009.

Altman said the Media Design School in New Zealand was chosen because of its reputation in digital media education and the collaborations it has forged with gaming, television and movie studios from such film directors as Peter Jackson, who is known for his "The Lord of the Rings" film trilogy.

“We have been trying for a couple years now to build up our digital media program and to invigorate it because there is a lot of competition around here [in San Diego], and we wanted to do something that would be different, that would be recognizable, [and] that would be credible in preparing people to go into that field and those industries,” Altman said.

Tuition for the new bachelor’s degree program in interior design, which starts fall 2013, was not announced, and the school has not determined if any of its programs will see a fee increase. This year's tuition for the Digital Media Arts program, which includes graphic design and interactive design, was $6,867 per quarter for full-time students.

“The way we built the curriculum is for students that are in their third year of the interior design program would go spend a quarter [overseas],” Altman said.

He added that students can go to the Media Design School in New Zealand after they graduate and get a certificate if they choose not to go in their third year.

NewSchool also plans to offer other programs in design-related fields, such as game art and animation.

“We expect the other programs to come a year later [in 2014]," Altman said. "They still need to be built out further and need regulatory approvals, so those will come soon.

Altman said the school wants to add programs where there are jobs waiting for students when they graduate. The school conducted several marketing studies and analyses to determine what new programs are likely to succeed at NewSchool, he added.

To reinforce its commitment to existing and new programs, NewSchool is planning to establish three schools within its academic structure: School of Architecture, which will teach the core curricula of architecture and construction management; School of Digital Arts, the first program of which is a revitalized Bachelor of Digital Media Arts with certificate options through Media Design School; and Domus Academy School of Design at NewSchool, which will house the additional global design education programs NewSchool plans to develop starting with the interior design program.

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