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In my first year teaching design, a joint task force of the aiga and nasad (National Association of Schools of Art and Design)1 identified me as an instructor “of concern.” I warranted suspicion as a recent MFA graduate with “little or no professional practice or teaching experience and whose master’s may be the first degree with a major in graphic design.” Guilty on all counts. The alert came in a 1997 report, “Selecting and Supporting Graphic Design Faculty.” It was a timely study. New design programs were proliferating and enrollment escalating in established ones. The economy was on a roll, giving designers even less incentive to choose teaching over practice. As a result, schools were hiring faculty whose engagement with design practice ranged from tenuous to wholly absent. I was teaching some undergraduates with more professional experience than I had. Put forth as “analytical and consultative only,” the report allowed for exceptions. But was I one? Am I now, years into a career and facing a tenure decision? I believe I can “do” design—yet don’t care to. At least, not the way the field regards as significant. Experts in the field have to certify my work as noteworthy. With dubious professional credentials, scrutinizing design’s educational values isn’t a theoretical concern for me. Nor is it to the design field as a whole. What are the standards that define the nature and role of a design educator? Articulating what makes a good design teacher describes the field’s values as much as pronouncing what makes a good designer. In place of a definition for a good teacher, design offers equivalence. A good designer is a good teacher. Of course, when you consider a specific individual’s facility there are exceptions. But in general, the cliché is inverted: those who can, should teach. Professional repute equals teaching potential, with designers of renown the most desirable instructors. This assessment cuts across the spectrum: from full-time tenure-track faculty to individuals whose primary dedication is to their practice. After that, design doesn’t have much in the way of objective standards. There is logic at work here but how much of a factor is notoriety? At issue isn’t whether practitioners bring a valuable perspective to education. They obviously An Instructor of Concern do and have done so throughout history in various disciplines, not just design. It’s also proper to think educators might achieve and maintain esteem for performing the art they profess.