The University of Indianapolis Department of Experience Design will no longer be enrolling students for the 2023-24 school year and in years moving forward. According to Adjunct Professor of Experience Design Austin Baker, the university decided to sunset the program and phase out the course work after a program review.
Students currently enrolled in the program will still be able to graduate with an experience design degree, and those currently majoring in the program will be completing all their coursework this school year, according to Baker. The phasing out of the program was organized by the now-dissolved Center for Advising and Student Achievement and will allow for students to earn their credits until the end of the current academic year.
The UIndy experience design program is one of the only of its kind in the Midwest, according to the UIndy website. The program focuses on creating environments that engage consumers using multiple disciplines of design and management, along with research and development.
Students or people interested in experience design can find opportunities outside of an academic environment to pursue the career field. According to Baker, there are programs around the country that offer experience design majors, and there has also been an influx of non-academic experience design careers.
“I see there’s a bunch of places that are offering certificates in museum design or like, a masterclass in themed entertainment design,” Baker said.
Programs in experience design on the university or college level can be found at institutions like Kent State University and Brigham Young University, according to Baker. The Experience Design and Management program at BYU focuses on interdisciplinary design principles, according to the university’s ExDM program website. The program focuses on experience management, events and experience in recreation.
According to Baker, programs like UIndy Experience Design being cut are a result of lower interest in the field academically, as well as universities looking to cut down costs. Baker said the program being sunset is an institution-specific decision that students can also look at crossover with other fields like theatre and marketing.
“I think we’re seeing that we’re almost approaching the cliff, as they call it, where enrollments are just kind of starting to go down everywhere and so universities are looking to cut and unfortunately the humanities are obviously the first on the chopping block,” Baker said.
Despite program cuts and students not being able to pursue the major at UIndy, Baker said the field is still growing. According to the research platform for user tests and design surveys UsabilityHub, the average salary for a UX designer in the USA is about $99,000.
“The field of experience design is still going strong and growing rapidly,” Baker said. “I would not let this discourage people from pursuing this field in general.”