Sooshin Choi Named Provost of CCS
New provost will bring extensive leadership and industrial design experience
The College for Creative Studies has appointed Sooshin Choi Provost & Vice President for Academic Affairs and Professor of Design. An internationally renowned educator and design professional, Choi joins CCS from the University of Cincinnati where he has been Director of the School of Design since 2010 and Professor of Industrial Design since 2003.
As Provost of CCS, Choi will be the chief academic officer of the College, responsible for providing vision and leadership for all matters related to academic operations, including oversight of faculty and curricula. The Provost plays a key role in the College’s strategic planning, budgeting, enrollment management, technology planning and resource development. He also serves as a spokesperson for the College and advocate for the value of art and design to society.
“CCS has grown from a very strong foundation of arts and crafts and design, with really strong connections to industry and community,” said Choi. “So, if CCS is a tree, it is a big tree with very strong roots. I would like to help grow the school’s national and international reputation and help bring all of the programs to the next level so that CCS can be seen as the best art and design school in the world. That’s my dream.”
Choi’s design experience spans multiple industries and nearly three decades. For 18 years, he worked as an automotive designer for Korean manufacturers GM: Daewoo Motors and Kia Motors where he designed passenger cars, vans, trucks, buses and minivans. Many of his later car designs, developed for Korean, European and US markets, can still be seen on the road: the sub-compact Kia Sephia; the first and second generations of the Kia Sedona; and the Kia Sportage, one of the world’s first sport utility vehicles.
At Fursys and Iloom, Choi led teams of designers and engineers to develop furniture for offices and public spaces. As the first director of industrial design at DEKA Research and Development, he oversaw the next generation of such innovative products as the iBOT Mobility System, a powered wheelchair with integrated features not found in other motorized chairs.
Choi’s designs have received numerous accolades, including iF Hannover Product Design and Ecology Design Awards, Japanese G-Mark and the Grand Prize of Korean Industrial Design Award. He holds 47 design patents and three utility patents for his automotive and furniture designs.
As a designer, administrator and teacher, Choi embraces innovation and inclusion, and publishes widely on these topics. “I love teaching. My philosophy is that I'm not just teaching art and design. I'm designing future designers and artists — the best creative professionals that our society needs,” Choi explained.
He designed future creative professionals for a decade at the University of Cincinnati’s highly regarded School of Design, teaching industrial design studios, theory of industrial design and a universal design seminar. He established Designnovation Studio, which allows students from diverse disciplines and various levels to work on innovative projects with industry partners. Choi also conducted design research in collaboration with major corporations, such as P&G, LG Electronics, Samsung Electronics, Hyundai Motors, Boeing, GE Appliances, Crown Equipment and Mead Westvaco.
“I’m delighted that Sooshin Choi will be joining the College for Creative Studies. I can’t imagine a person better suited for the role of Provost than Sooshin,” said Richard L. Rogers, president of CCS. “He has all the attributes for which we were searching: a distinguished record and global reputation as an educator, academic leader and creative professional; broad international contacts in higher education and industry; success in forming educational partnerships; the ability to inspire and motivate; and, above all, a passion to serve students, support faculty and encourage innovation.
“He will be a caring steward of the College’s academic programs, a strong advocate for the College, and a great partner as we sustain and enhance CCS’s mission of excellence in creative education, community engagement and economic development.”
Sooshin Choi holds a BS in Industrial Design from Seoul National University of Science and Technology and an MFA in Industrial Design from Hong-Ik University. He also holds a Diploma in Vehicle Design from the Royal College of Art in London and studied at The Ohio State University. He and his wife Hyunsim have a son, Michael, who is in high school.
Choi serves the design community in various capacities; he is a member of the Korea Industrial Designers Association (KIDA), US director of Korea Society of Design Sciences (KSDS), and founder and moderator of Korean Designers in America.
In 2011, Choi was elected Vice President for Education of the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA). In this role, he leads the education council in their efforts to develop and support the highest levels of undergraduate and graduate education. Choi oversees the content review, development and management of IDSA publications and events for the industrial design education community. He also promotes IDSA membership among industrial design educators and students.
Serving IDSA as the Education Vice President allows Choi to see the entire horizon of design education in the US and its future opportunities. As an educator with experiences from Asia and Europe, his biggest goal as the Education VP has been to help US design education gain its competitive edge.
As Provost, Choi succeeds the late Imre Molnar, who died last December. His appointment begins January 1, 2014.
The search for Provost was conducted by Paul Hsun-Ling Chou, Co-Managing Director, Global Education Practice, Korn/Ferry International. He worked with input from a search committee chaired by Rogers and composed primarily of faculty from CCS’s academic departments.