A Letter to Reviewers: Tenure and Promotion

Thank you for taking the time to review my research and creative materials for tenure and promotion. Below, you will find a link to a downloadable PDF. This document is an external review package for Cat Normoyle, Assistant Professor of Graphic Design seeking tenure and promotion to the rank of Associate Professor at East Carolina University. 

I began my career in 2005 as a graphic designer at a brand strategy agency called Trend Influence in Atlanta, GA. On that team, I worked with design researchers, ethnographers, product designers, graphic designers, and brand strategists to find opportunities for the development of products, services, and experiences for brands and their clients. I had the opportunity to work with fortune 500 companies such as Coca-Cola, Toyota, LG, and Levi’s, and worked primarily in packaging design, product design, print design, advertising, web and marketing. After this, I returned to academia to pursue my M.F.A. in graphic design at Georgia State University where I explored the intersections of communication design, product design, and ultimately the design of spaces and places, community engagement, and social design. 

I started my academic career in 2012 at the Memphis College of Art. I taught there for 6 years before joining the faculty at East Carolina University in 2018. Over the years, I pursued research and creative activity through publications, presentations, exhibitions, installations and public works. I have 9 academic publications including journal articles, conference papers, and a chapter in a book. Notable journal articles include “A Blended Perspective: Social Impact Assessment in Graphic Design,” published in Dialectic, the AIGA Design Educators Community (DEC) scholarly journal in 2019 and “A Catalyst for Change: Understanding Characteristics of Citizen-driven Placemaking Endeavors Across Diverse Communities,” which won the International Award for Excellence, Volume 10, Design Principles and Practices Collection in 2016. Recently, I’ve completed a community engagement project here in North Carolina called “Uptown Greenville Design Intervention & Impact Analysis: Implementing a Citizen-inclusive Model,” and am currently working on post data collection and analysis and publishing its impact outcomes. This project, and others, have resulted in grant support of over $30k in the last three years. 

My work spans a range of topics including social design, impact assessment, and community engagement, to the design of digital experiences in spaces and places, speculative design, critical making, to design education. At the latest College Art Association (CAA) conference, I presented “Mixed Realities as Design Intervention for Communities: Blending Digital and Physical Experiences” and was a panelist on the Both Here and Nowhere: Rethinking the Role of Place in Design session. In 2018, I published the chapter “Motion Design in the Context of Place,” which appeared in the book Critical Perspectives and Professional Practice, published by Routledge. Last year, I presented and published the paper “Critical and Collaborative Making with augmented technical tools” at the notable international design conference, Design Research Society (DRS) 2020. Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to present my work both nationally and internationally at numerous design conferences including the Cumulus Association (International Association of Universities and Colleges of Art, Design and Media), EAD (European Academy of Design), IA (Imagining America), DEL (Digitally Engaged Learning Conference), AIGA DEC (Design Educator’s Community), and Design Incubation (Research in Communication Design). 

In the classroom, I teach students to be active learners and engage the material and coursework as much as possible. I believe the classroom is a place for experimentation and critical thought, and I value a student’s ability to be curious and explore ideas through making, in addition to learning the skills and tools of the discipline. My teaching experience began in 2010, but I started teaching full-time in 2012. Over this time, I’ve regularly taught a 3/3 course load and have worked with almost 1000 students. I have taught typography, print and packaging, digital design, UI/UX, web design and creative coding, motion, branding, advertising, design methods and processes, and social impact design. I’ve taught foundation, introductory to advanced, senior capstone courses, and graduate-level courses. I’ve worked with students directly in the classroom as well as mentored students beyond, acting as an advisor for their research studies (or with them as research assistants in my studies). 

As an educator, I am interested in exposing students to dynamic and emerging curricula that helps broaden their perspectives on design, and I value opportunities for integrating my research practice directly into teaching and learning where appropriate. One example of this is my “Active Voice” project, which directly integrates the social impact assessment and data collection methods that I implement in my community engagement work. This has been particularly important to me because I believe that designers must be accountable for the work that they create, but also need to learn how to be accountable by learning and applying a design process that measures impact accurately. 

Thank you again, for agreeing to review my external review package for tenure and promotion. The full document includes my CV with details on research and creative activity, teaching, and service as well as supporting materials for my research and creative activity. 

Your time and attention with these materials is greatly appreciated. 

Cat Normoyle