Jan Boelen

Design Academy Eindhoven masters heads resign

Jan Boelen

Dezeen Wire: the heads of all three masters courses at Design Academy Eindhoven in the Netherlands have resigned following a disagreement with the school over educational reform.

Joost Grootens

Jan Boelen (top), Joost Grootens (above) and Louise Schouwenberg (below), who respectively headed the Social Design, Information Design and Contextual Design masters courses, have stepped down with Nederland Dagblad reporting that they "fear that the autonomy of the Masters [is] at stake, and that [is] compromising the quality of education" (translated from Dutch).

Louise Schouwenberg

The resignations came on the day that 31 masters students at the school, which is one of the best regarded and most influential design schools in the word, celebrated their graduation.

Eindhoven Dagblad reported Boelen as saying "the Design Academy [is] in great need of an artistic director" (translated from Dutch).

This week also saw the departure of masters school head Gijs Bakker. The Droog co-founder left after 25 years at the academy with Boelen, Grootens and Schouwenberg  due to share responsiblities for the department, according to nrc.nl, which also reports Boelen as saying:

"We had a discussion with the board would like to carry on the vision of the school on the changing role of design in society. But substantive discussion does not occur. Instead, a bureaucratic school system implemented where managers in charge and we professionally as staff no longer have decision-making. " (Translated from Dutch).

Related: Li Edelkoort to resign as chair of Design Academy Eindhoven (June 2008) | See all our stories about Design Academy Eindhoven

Design Academy Eindhoven have posted the following statement on their website:


New phase master education

After our official announcement that the heads of the master department resigned, information was send to the media by the heads themselves. We still respect their choice and meanwhile stick to our strategic mission regarding renewed education. For us it is important to continue the dialogue with the people involved. Today we have spoken with stakeholders like tutors, employees, students and the student council. The Executive Board has informed them personally  about the DAE strategy which safeguards the quality of our master course.

We now focus on the continuous development of the master education which meets the high standard we all set. We strongly believe in our human centered design focus. And by doing so, we want to stimulate all skills of our gifted students who look a the world with the use of heart, hands and head.

Previous offical anouncement

As we celebrate the annual graduation of our master students - the heads of the three master research programmes have decided to leave our academy. Jan Boelen, Joost Grootens and Louise Schouwenberg will continue their careers elsewhere. We thank them for their effort and expertise and wish them all the best on their journey.

Meanwhile, we proceed to develop the position of the heads to guarantee the best solution possible which safeguards our values in the field of master education.

We will evolve our master education on an excellent level with a strong, highly valuable focus on design, research and strategy within the context of the world we live in. We cherish our DNA and believe in the cultural meaning, social relevance and economic value of design. This is carried out by our highly skilled students and teachers from all over the world.