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New DAAP Faculty Member Interested in Exploring Design’s Impact on Business

Maren Carpenter-Fearing, new faculty member in DAAP, brings professional design and teaching experience to her role – along with research interests in exploring the impact design can have on a small business’ or non-profit’s success.

Date: 10/22/2011
By: M.B. Reilly
Phone: (513) 556-1824
Photos By: Michael Everett

As an alumna of University of Cincinnati design programs, Maren Carpenter-Fearing was shaped by her undergraduate and graduate programs in the College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning (DAAP). And now, as a new faculty member in DAAP, she will in turn shape the program via her teaching, professional experience and research interests.
Maren Carpenter-Fearing
Maren Carpenter-Fearing

Carpenter-Fearing, a visiting assistant professor of graphic communication design and a practicing designer with a Hyde Park firm founded in collaboration with a fellow DAAP grad, earned her undergraduate graphic design degree from DAAP in 2003 and her graduate degree in design in 2011. And after earning her first degree, she worked several years in professional roles with firms like MSA Architects and Landor Associates.  

And because of that experience and her design work on behalf of non-profits, Carpenter-Fearing is interested in pursuing research that measures the impact design can have on a small business’ bottom-line success as well as the success of non-profit organizations..

She says, “My interest in researching the impact of design on small business success and success by other types of organizations stems not only from my own work experience for architecture and design firms but from design opportunities I was provided right here in DAAP.”

For instance, as a graduate student, Carpenter-Fearing worked with faculty member Michael Zaretsky, assistant professor of architecture, on behalf of Village Life Outreach Project, a non-profit that supports development work in Tanzania, including the design and construction of a health clinic there.

The non-profit raises funds, in part, by selling fair-trade coffee, and Carpenter-Fearing redesigned materials related to that coffee. “After that redesign, coffee sales doubled. Those involved with Village Life said they couldn’t keep the product on the shelf,” she recalls.
Studio teaching

While a DAAP graduate student, she also took opportunities to teach, and, in fact, served as the sole instructor in a number of courses thanks to her previous academic and work experience: “I was teaching one or two courses a quarter as a graduate student because of needs in the program and due to my work experience. It worked out well because one of my reasons for opting to pursue a graduate degree even though I’d been successful in the working world was the opportunity to explore the teaching profession.”

That included teaching beyond studio hours as well: “I’ve done mini-work sessions outside of studio time when I’ve felt students needed a boost within particular areas of design. It’s time that really pays off for students’ portfolios, resumes and projects.”

And no doubt has an impact on their bottom-line success.