MFA Thesis Show Opens at Anders Roundhouse July 10


The Department of Art at Jacksonville State University announces the opening reception and discussion of the thesis exhibition for Susan Robertson, a candidate for the Masters in Fine Art in Visual Communication Design, on Thursday, July 10, 2014 from 5-7 p.m. in the Anders Roundhouse on the JSU campus. Robertson’s thesis is “The Design Investigation Method: A Pedagogical Tool for Graphic Design Students.” The exhibition, which runs through July 18, is an interactive presentation of the method that allows visitors to experience through video observation, audio interviews, photographs, literature, and hands-on activity the role of research in defining and solving human-centered problems.

Robertson’s thesis exhibition is the culmination of her studies in graphic design pedagogy. It responds to the design discipline’s call for development of formal methods in design education. The method Robertson has developed can be taught to first year graphic design students to aid in their investigation of human-centered design problems. The method codifies and simplifies the research process and focuses the design student on the needs and the cultural context of his or her audience. It also integrates hand-held digital technologies such as smart phones and tablets into the design research process.

The Masters in Fine Art in Visual Communication Design is a new, terminal degree program at Jacksonville State University. The program blends traditional and new media and provides students with the theoretical background and research methods of the emerging discipline of design. Robertson was one of the first students to enter the program when it began in 2011 and will be the first to receive her degree.

Robertson has delivered her thesis at the Design Educator’s Conference of the University and College Designers Association and at the Southeastern College Art Conference.

In addition to her graduate studies Robertson also served as a graduate teaching assistant for Design 1, Graphic Design 1 and Art Appreciation. Prior to her graduate work, Robertson was the executive director of the Wiregrass Museum of Art in Dothan, Alabama and prior to that, the director of programs and marketing at the Anniston Museum of Natural History and Berman Museum of World History in Anniston. She received her Bachelor of Art in Fine Art from Jacksonville State University. She is also a graduate of the Museum Leadership Course, an international museum leadership program of the Getty Leadership Institute. Robertson is currently a visual artist and designer and the creative director for Garfrerick’s Café in Oxford, Alabama. Her work is in private collections and can be seen online at Her thesis will be available after August 1, 2014 on