Experience Architecture

Developing an Interdisciplinary UX Undergraduate Degree



program design, experience architecture, user experience, design thinking, research, design, content strategy, leadership


This program showcase discusses the creation of an undergraduate user experience program housed in the Arts and Humanities and shared between two programs: the Department of Art, Art History and Design and the Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and Cultures in the College of Arts and Letters at Michigan State University. The design of the program was grounded in three guiding questions: 1) How do we develop a UX degree that is rooted in Humanities at an R1 land-grant university? 2) How do we develop a curriculum that is interdisciplinary and upholds the values of the Humanities? 3) How can we remain agile and create space for curriculum revision that invites iteration in a way that does not chase industry, but produces graduates who can lead industry towards changes fostered by the work in the Humanities? In reflecting on these questions, the Experience Architecture (XA) Program was developed and deployed in the fall of 2013 and was revised in fall of 2020 to better situate the field under the umbrella of XA to filter conversations about human design thinking in and around a humanities centered approach to problem solving. We are humans building and designing systems for other humans, not ones and zeros building for other ones and zeros - our efforts should be grounded in the ethics, morals, and values of what it means to build, design, and care for humanities based systems, be they digital or physical.


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Author Biographies

Casey McArdle, Michigan State University

Casey McArdle is the Associate Chair for Undergraduate Studies in the Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures at Michigan State University. He is an advocate for accessibility in and out of the classroom and has been involved with OWI for many years via publications, presentations, and research teams that focus on OWI. He is the co-author of Personal, Accessible, Responsive, Strategic: Resources and Strategies for Online Writing Instructors (winner of the 2020 Computers and Composition Distinguished Book Award), co-editor of PARS in Practice: More Resources and Strategies for Online Writing Instructors, and the co-creator of The Online Writing Instruction Community resources website.

Liza Potts, Michigan State University

Liza Potts is a professor in the Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures at Michigan State University where she leads WIDE Research and is a co-founder of the Experience Architecture program. Her research interests include networked participatory culture, social user experience, and digital rhetoric. Her work has been funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), and others. Liza has published three books and over 70 publications focused on disaster response, user experience, and participatory memory, as well as several digital projects from community archives to leading the Sherlockian.net team. Her professional experience includes working for technology startups, Microsoft, and design consultancies.

Rebecca Tegtmeyer, Michigan State University

Rebecca Tegtmeyer is a graphic design educator and practitioner. Through her active research, writing, making, and teaching agenda she investigates the role of a designer and the creative process through a variety of forms—from static to dynamic, time-based to print. Working both individually and collaboratively she approaches design as a catalyst in facilitating systems that challenge and inspire—further extending the capabilities and responsibilities of a designer in today’s complex world. Current research projects focus on collaboration from a variety of perspectives from collaboration practices in design education to investigating the tools and processes for remote collaborative making. Rebecca is co-author and co-editor of the title, Collaboration in Design Education, with Marty Maxwell Lane.




How to Cite

McArdle, C., Potts, L., & Tegtmeyer, R. (2024). Experience Architecture: Developing an Interdisciplinary UX Undergraduate Degree. Programmatic Perspectives, 14(2). Retrieved from https://programmaticperspectives.cptsc.org/index.php/jpp/article/view/54