About

Introductions Are In Order

portraitI am an Assistant Professor of Communication Design and Graduate Director of the MFA in Experience Design at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. I research ways people and design decisions intersect at experiential and systemic levels. My recent work explores how co-creating end-of-life choices with stakeholders can facilitate meaningful decision-making resources and tools; ways multiple intelligence theories can be applied to facilitate learning necessary for addressing complex problems; and how rhetoric and semantics in design affect aspirations and goals. I am a Scripps Gerontology Center Research Fellow and my current research work is a transdisciplinary research project titled Living Values that focuses on end-of-life choices and advance care planning for underserved populations in southern Ohio and northern Kentucky. Prior to my academic appointment, I practiced design professionally for fifteen years as a creative director, graphic, interaction, and experience designer at agencies, in-house, and non-profit organizations in the Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas area.

A Bit of History

My design career started in first grade by following instructions from Ed Emberley’s drawing book, Make a World to create panoramas out of everyday shapes. In third grade, I bought a typography book from a Scholastic Book Fair and by the time I took my first art class in 8th grade I knew my future was as an artist. My junior year in high school I learned the term “commercial artist” which set a point on the horizon for my future career. I had no idea then that eventually, I’d go onto a career as a designer, researcher, and educator.

Over my fifteen years of professional design experience as a creative director, graphic, interaction, and experience designer I’ve worked in agency, in-house, corporate, non-profit and freelance environments. This work has been done with and for organizations including Southwest Airlines, HKS Architects, Cook Children’s Hospital, Irving Bible Church, Water is Basic and public broadcasting television station, KERA. I received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Communication Design and Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing from Texas Tech University in 1998 as well as a Master of Fine Arts in Applied Design Research from the University of North Texas in 2013.

I enjoy playing disc golf, backgammon, and going to big concerts in small venues.

Abbreviated Curriculum Vitae

Current Position

Assistant Professor, Communication Design
Miami University | Department of Art | Oxford, Ohio | Fall 2013 – Present

Courses Taught: Highwire Brand Studio, Image Making, Fundamentals of Interaction Design, Applied Interaction Design, Design for Social Change Senior Thesis Project, Systems Design, Graduate Design Studio, Design Research Methods, A History of Design

Current Roles

Graduate Director, MFA in Experience Design
2015 – Present

Lead Faculty, Communication Design B.F.A.
2015 – Present

Research Fellow, Scripps Gerontology Center
2016 – Present

Education

M.F.A. in Design–Applied Design Research
University of North Texas | College of Visual Arts and Design | Denton, Texas | 2010–2013

B.F.A. in Design Communication
Texas Tech University | College of Arts and Sciences | Lubbock, Texas | 1993–1998

B.A. in English–Creative Writing
Texas Tech University | College of Arts and Sciences | Lubbock, Texas | 1993–1998

Associations and Memberships

Design Research Society (DRS)
2012–Present

American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA)
2012–Present

Interaction Design Association (IxDA)
2012–Present

Previous Positions

Teaching Fellow
University of North Texas | Department of Design | Denton, Texas | Fall 2011-Spring 2013

Courses Taught: Typography 1 & 2, Design Thinking

Teaching Intern
University of North Texas | Department of Design | Denton, Texas | Fall 2010

Courses Taught: Typography 2

Graphic Designer and Principal
Dennis Cheatham Design | Lake Dallas, Texas | 2000-2013

Creative Director and Director of Electronic Media
Irving Bible Church | Irving, Texas | 2008-2013

Senior Art Director
HKS Architects | Dallas, Texas | 2007-2008

Graphic Designer and Art Director
Irving Bible Church | Irving, Texas | 2000-2007

Writer, Customer Relations
Southwest Airlines | Dallas, Texas | 1999-2000

Graphic Designer
Dennard, Lacey, and Wood | Dallas, Texas | 1998-1999

Previous Roles

Alumni Teaching Scholar
Miami University Center for Teaching Excellence | Faculty Learning Community | 2014-2015

Previous Associations and Memberships

Dallas Society of Visual Communications (DSVC)
1998-2013

College Art Association (CAA)
2012-2013

Kappa Kappa Psi – National Honorary Band Fraternity

Tau Sigma Delta – Honor Society in Architecture and the Allied Arts

Sigma Tau Delta – International English Honor Society

Publications

Cheatham, D. M. (2017). A Multiple Intelligences Model for Design: Developing the Ways Designers Think as Design Disciplines Expand. Dialectic, 1(2), 75-100. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.3998/dialectic.14932326.0001.205

Cheatham, D. M. (2017). Experience Design: Embracing Transdisciplinarity. Iterations: Design Research and Practice Review, 1(5), 22-27.

Proceedings

Cheatham, D. M. (2017, October 31-November 3). Rewarding Risk: Exploring How to Encourage Learning that Comes from Taking Risks. Proceedings from IASDR 2017: Re: Research, Cincinnati, Ohio.

Conference Plenary Presentations

Learning to Fail: How to Make Failing Part of Learning
35th Annual Lilly Conference on College Teaching | Miami University | Oxford, Ohio | November 2015

Conference Presentations

Science Rules: Why Design Research Needs Scientific Research Classifications | Design Incubation Colloquium 3.3 | Kent State University: Kent, Ohio | March 11, 2017

Rewarding Risk: Exploring How to Encourage Learning that Comes from Risking Failure | International Association of Societies of Design Research (IASDR) Conference | Cincinnati, Ohio | November 2, 2017

Integrating Experience-Focused Design Education: Beyond DIV Tags, Dropdowns, and Devices | Nuts + Bolts AIGA Design Educators Conference owling Green, Ohio | June 16, 2016

Research Your Way Into Users’ Hearts
HOW Interactive Design Conference | San Francisco, California | September 20, 2015

Designers as Users: Switching Roles to Teach Critical Thinking in Design Education
New Ventures: Intersections In Design Education | AIGA Design Educators Conference | Portland, Oregon | September 11–13, 2014

A Necessary Shift: Engaging Coding In Graphic Design Education
PICA Conference | Society of Graphic Designers of Canada, Alberta North Chapter | Edmonton, Alberta, Canada | May 7–10, 2014

Responsive Web Design and a New Web Aesthetic
4th Annual Research Student Conference in Art & Design | University of Wolverhampton | Wolverhampton, United Kingdom | May 14–15, 2012

Conference Abstracts

End-of-Life Decisions: Using Systemic Approaches to Research
the Conversations Americans Aren’t Having
Relating Systems Thinking and Design 4 | Banff Centre, Alberta, Canada | September 1-3, 2015 | Accepted June 2015 for Poster

The Modern Sacred: Applying the Ancient Faith to a Digital Congregation
International Conference on Digital Religion | Center for Media, Religion and Culture, University of Colorado, Boulder | Boulder, Colorado | January 12–15, 2012 | Accepted September 2011 for Presentation

Symposia

Rewarding Risk: Exploring How to Encourage Learning that Comes from Risking Failure
Alumni Teaching Scholars Research Symposium | Miami University | April 6, 2015

Workshops and Featured Speaker Presentations

Most Likely to Succeed: Project-Based Learning Film and Panel | Miami University College of Education, Health & Society with McGuffey Montessori
School | Miami University | October 20, 2016

Ignite Your Design Career With UX Panel | Cincinnati Design Week: AIGA and IxDA Cincinnati | September 26, 2016

Discovery Café: Decisions, Decisions, Decisions | Miami University Office for the Advancement of Research and Scholarship (OARS) | November 10, 2015

Everyone is Creative: Putting Innovation to Work Panel | Miami University Center for Teaching Excellence | Laws Hall | October 22, 2015

Facing the Blank Canvas: How to Start Designing
AIGA Cincinnati Student Engagement Design Forum | Cincinnati, Ohio | September 24, 2015

Design is Not About Design, It’s About People
Contemporary Art Forum | Miami University | Department of Art | March 12, 2015

Selected Interviews, Magazine Stories, Website Posts

Thoughts on Communication Design and UX Education
James Pannafino | with seven other user experience educators at other institutions across the United States | March 27, 2015

PICA: Western Canada’s Design Conference, Edmonton, Alberta
Karen Jager | a recap of the PICA Conference | July 27, 2014

Selected Research Projects

Researching and Designing Meaningful End-of-Life Decisions
Principal Investigator | with Jennifer Heston (Miami University), Paul Nini (The Ohio State University) | December 2014–Present

Rewarding Risk: Exploring How to Encourage Learning that Comes from Risking Failure
Principal Investigator | Fall 2014–Spring 2015

Researching the Barriers Between Men and Mental Health Care
Principal Investigator | August 2012–July 2013

Water Conservation Can Be Fashionable: An Attitudinal Approach to Reducing Water Overuse in the United States
Co-Investigator | with Rebeca Carranza, Holly Cole, John Hicks, Jeff Joiner, Michelle Keefer, Tim Woodring, XuHao Yang | August–December 2012

The City of Owasso Character Initiative
Co-Investigator | with John Hicks, Michelle Keefer and XuHao Yang | January–May 2012

Evaluating the Dynamics, Processes, and Culture of the Cook Children’s Medical Center Pediatric Intensive Care Unit
Research Assistant | supporting Professors Michael Gibson and Keith Owens | May 2011

Extending Family Education via Electronic Media
Research Assistant | supporting Professors Michael Gibson and Keith Owens | March–June 2011

Improving Student Success: Researching How Students Use Electronic Library Resources
Co-Investigator | with University of North Texas Anthropology Masters’ Candidates and Dr. Lisa Henry | August–December 2010

Small Business Behaviors and Attitudes
Co-Investigator | with University of North Texas Anthropology Masters’ Candidates and Dr. Susan Squires | August–December 2010

Honors, Awards, and Recognition

2nd Place Award in Social and Behavioral Sciences Category | University of North Texas Graduate Exhibition
Water Conservation Can Be Fashionable: An Attitudinal Approach to Reducing Water Overuse in the United States | March 2013

Bronze Medal | Dallas Society of Visual Communications Dallas Show
The Great Map of Christmas Songs for Chatter Magazine | May 2011

American Graphic Design Award | Graphic Design USA
Innovate Magazine, Fall/Winter 2007 | HKS Architects | 2008

American Graphic Design Award | Graphic Design USA
Mexico 5 Invitation | HKS Architects | 2008

Academic, Professional, and Public Service

Conference Steering Committee Member
Connecting Dots | AIGA Design Educators Conference | University of Cincinnati | Cincinnati, Ohio | January–March 2014

Board Member and Working Lunches Co-Chair
Dallas Society of Visual Communications | 2010–2012

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