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May 1: Terry Irwin Appointed Head of Carnegie Mellon’s School of Design


Eric Sloss

Terry Irwin Appointed Head of
Carnegie Mellon’s School of Design

IrwinPITTSBURGH—Carnegie Mellon University has appointed Terry Irwin, a designer, educator and researcher working in sustainable and interdisciplinary design, as head of its School of Design, effective Aug. 1. Her appointment reflects the school’s commitment to interdisciplinary practice to address social and ecological problems. 

Irwin succeeds Stephen Stadelmeier, who has served as interim head since Fall 2008.

“Terry’s relationship with the School of Design spans more than 15 years,” said Hilary Robinson, the Stanley and Marcia Gumberg Dean of the College of Fine Arts. “Her familiarity with Carnegie Mellon, a successful 35 years of professional experience, and her commitment to solving social and environmental issues through design makes her an ideal fit for the school. Terry will be a wonderful addition to the College of Fine Arts and we are excited for her to join the Carnegie Mellon community.”

As a frequent guest lecturer and participant in the school’s student portfolio day, she has worked with and hired many Carnegie Mellon graduates. Irwin has worked in university-level design education for more than 20 years at such prestigious institutions as the Otis Parsons School of Design and the California College of the Arts. Currently, Irwin is completing research toward a doctoral degree from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design at the University of Dundee in Scotland, where she also lectures.

“Carnegie Mellon’s School of Design is one of the best in the world and I feel great resonance with its mission. I welcome the opportunity to help ensure the program’s future and enrich its contribution to the fields of design, society and the environment,” Irwin said.

Irwin is the co-founder and former principal and creative director of the San Francisco office of MetaDesign, an international and multidisciplinary design firm. Through the firm, she has worked with Fortune 1000 companies including Sony, Apple, Adobe and the Bank of America. During her 10 years with MetaDesign, the office grew from a staff of three to 75 and was the recipient of multiple national and international awards. Irwin received a master’s degree in design from Allgemeine Kunstgewerbeschule in Basel, Switzerland.

Carnegie Mellon’s School of Design is one of five schools in the College of Fine Arts. The School of Design aims to prepare students for a world that places high value on the quality of human interactions. They develop and design products, artifacts, environments, systems and services that support and enhance these interactions. For more information about Irwin visit or the School of Design site at