The iSchool’s Eric Nordquist has been appointed clinical associate professor.
An industry veteran of the user-experience field, with an educational background in experimental psychology, Nordquist has served in a variety of design, research and leadership roles at large corporations such as Boeing, Dell, General Motors and Rackspace.
Nordquist’s career has spanned building a UX team at a design center in Singapore to designing software on a next-generation military program for Boeing. He also designed software that assembly-line workers used to do factory jobs for General Motors, and most recently he was Director of UX at Rackspace, the world’s largest managed cloud provider.
Nordquist became an adjunct faculty member of the School of Information in January 2016. This fall, he is teaching three courses on usability, designing rich user experiences, and rapid prototyping and lean UX methodologies.
“I am thrilled that we have hired Eric as our first clinical associate professor,” interim iSchool Dean Randolph Bias said. “His real-world experience as a UX practitioner and manager in leading technology companies will serve our students well, as indeed it already has when Eric served us as an adjunct professor. The list of recent iSchool MSIS grads who would volunteer ‘I landed my cool job thanks to Eric’ is large and growing. Eric understands the UX world—no kidding—as well as anyone I know.”
Q&A WITH ERIC NORDQUIST
What's your vision for working with iSchool students?
My primary goal is sharing my 16 years of industry experience leading various user-experience teams to better prepare the students wanting to pursue a career in UX. We recently heard back from an industry partner who interviewed several of our students how excited they were at the ability of our students to “hit the ground running.”
As the field of UX continues to adapt and grow and new methods and tools are released, I want to ensure our students are up to speed on industry trends. As a program, the iSchool also provides an awesome opportunity for students to draw on the expertise of a very diverse set of faculty members who bring new ideas and ways of solving UX problems that are not available in all programs.
How will the UX field change in the next 5 to 10 years?
As the popularity of UX exploded over the last several years, there have been a lot of programs and certificates to educate people in order to keep up with the demand. Some of these programs have not kept such a strict focus on behavioral data-driven approaches to solving UX problems, and that is starting to become an issue. I see the UX field, in particular user research, going back to a more data-driven approach, but with methods that allow for a quickening of the pace to keep up with more agile delivery methods.
Another thing I’ve noticed is the recognition that UX-trained employees make excellent product managers. One of the barriers of entry for UX students is a lack of business acumen. We’re trying to take advantage of this by offering our students exposure to the role of a product manager—for example, in my Lean UX course—so our students are exposed to this opportunity.