Students in design research class examine healthy creativity at Columbus College of Art & Design

Apr 9, 2019
College students stop texting and using social media for Unplugged Day at CCAD

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Students in an advanced design research class are looking for ways to bring more healthy creativity to Columbus College of Art & Design.

Throughout the spring 2019 semester, a group of nine students in CCAD’s Advanced Consumer Insights & Synthesis class are researching questions including: “What kinds of healthy can help students succeed both as individuals and as artists and designers?”, “How can our institution promote healthy behaviors as an institution?,” and “How is mental health tied to technology?”

The students’ research comes at the request of CCAD President Melanie Corn, who launched a 3-year strategic plan which includes the goal of becoming the healthiest school in the Association of Independent Colleges of Art & Design (AICAD).

“Columbus College of Art & Design is committed to fostering a sense of healthy creativity on our campus,” Dr. Corn said. “And we’re excited to see what this talented group of students comes with up.”

The students—a mix of sophomores, juniors, and seniors studying Industrial Design and Interior Architecture & Design, many of whom are pursuing Design Research minors—will present their findings and recommendations to CCAD’s senior leaders in May. Then, Dr. Corn and her administration will use the students’ recommendations as a roadmap to help make the concept of healthy creativity a reality at CCAD.

“We’re really excited to be approached by senior leadership to work on the project,” said one of the student researchers, Jared Bowdish (Industrial Design, 2020). “The for-the-students, by-the-students approach is powerful.”

The research will continue in fall 2019 and spring 2020, when new crops of students will explore additional ways to foster a campus community that embraces the concept of healthy creativity.

The research project comes the same semester that CCAD’s Student Government Association launched Unplugged Day, a 24-hour technology break, on Feb. 13, 2019, in response to questions about technology and mental health. Students, faculty, and staff were encouraged to take a break from social media, email, and texting and instead engage with people face-to-face and take part in activities on campus, including a sort of analog Facebook wall, where students, staff, and faculty posted messages using pens and sticky notes.

Following Unplugged Day, CCAD leaders emailed a survey to the college asking about the experience, and it showed a desire by many, including the Student Government Association, to do more in this arena.

Responses from students, faculty, and staff included comments such as, “We spend far too much time being on screens. It was a welcome break. I was more productive on projects than ever!” and “I truly appreciated the one on one conversations and felt liberated by not constantly checking social.” And a number of survey respondents said they wanted to support the student-led initiative.

In addition to Bowdish, the student researchers involved in the spring 2019 project are Kwaku Ayesu, Matthew Ballard, Amber Bowman, Andrew Hohler, Nick Majeski, William Moore, Katie Price, and Mariah Zambuto.

About Columbus College of Art & Design

Columbus College of Art & Design teaches undergraduate and graduate students in the midst of a thriving creative community in Columbus, Ohio. Founded in 1879, CCAD is one of the oldest private, nonprofit art and design colleges in the United States, and in 2019, the college is celebrating 140 years of creative excellence. CCAD offers 12 BFA programs and two master’s programs in art and design that produce graduates equipped to shape culture and business at the highest level. For more information, visit


Above: CCAD students, faculty, and staff posted on a sort of analog Facebook wall on Unplugged Day on Feb. 13, 2019. Photo by Ty Wright for Columbus College of Art & Design. 

Additional high-res photos are available for download here with the password unplugged.

Media contact

Jeannie Nuss
Director of Public Relations 
[email protected]