Scholar of the Month

Kent State’s Scholar of the Month recognizes faculty researchers and scholars whose recent work has had an important impact on their professional fields and has brought exposure to the university. Each month, a different college will have the opportunity to nominate a researcher/scholar for this recognition. There is also a month when a faculty member from the Regional Campuses will be featured.

The selection process is in the hands of the dean and his or her colleagues and faculty. Hence, this is recognition by the person’s college colleagues that is then taken up by the university. The deans communicate the person’s name to the Division of Research and Sponsored Programs for recognition as Scholar of the Month.


November Scholar Puts Communication on Display

Scholar of the Month
Jessica Barness
Assistant Professor of Visual Communication Design
College of Communication and Information

The word “communication” likely makes you think of language, but November’s Scholar of the Month has spent her entire career researching design as a language of its own.

Across various media, Jessica Barness, an assistant professor in Kent State University’s School of Visual Communication Design, creates her own design-based research model that merges the making of artifacts with critical inquiry.

“I’m interested in the multiple facets of design,” she said. “Design is social, and it’s a professional practice as well as a scholarly discipline. We’re designing artifacts and experiences, but we’re also building the new knowledge necessary to inform and lead those activities. Research through design can be used to better understand people, phenomena, theories or technologies. By approaching design as a sort of hybrid practice, our students learn how to adapt to future needs within our society.