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Design School Rankings 2015

Rankings and review based on social media

· Innovation,Design,design schools

Understanding the Rankings

It is the time of the year where students are receiving early decision letters in their mailbox and will soon be committing to a school that will shape much of what they learn over the next few years. Students in search of learning environments at design schools are encouraged to use this year’s Design School Social Media Ranking as one tool to help them make their decision. Results show Parsons the New School of Design again dominates the top spot of this year’s rankings.

The Design School Social Media Rankings 2015 has 3 New York schools in the top 4 spots. Parsons the New School of Design again reins on top with their overall social media reach. Staying at #2 was The Fashion Institute of Technology and The School of Visual Arts at #4. The biggest jump in the rankings was made by the Art Institute of Chicago from #12 in 2014 to #3 in 2015- largely driven by its social media strategy on Twitter. The Art Institute of Chicago, ranked 1st in the number of Twitter followers by a wide margin. The top three design schools ranked 1st in being active on a social media platform. Parsons being tops in Facebook and Youtube. This suggests design schools may be focusing on a particular social media platform to drive their social media strategies and building synergies across other platforms as a result.

The two big drops in the rankings were by Pratt Institute and California College of the Arts, which both dropped 4 spots to #9 and #14. Royal College of the Arts dropped 5 spots to #16. Even though these three institutions use all of the social media platforms within the rankings, they seem to be underutilized or reevaluating their social media strategy effectiveness. University of the Arts London and Savannah Collage of Art and Design rounded out the top six for this year’s rankings. It is interesting to note, University of the Arts London powered its way to the 5th spot through the use of LinkedIn and Twitter, while Savannah Collage of Art and Design dropped from the top spot of most LinkedIn followers to the 3rd most on the social media platform.

The Design School Social Media Rankings indicates which schools are the most active using Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and YouTube. This year’s ranking used the same methodology as the 2014 rankings and provided an aggregate of the social media reach over those years. The rankings have expanded to include data from 17 design schools. These new additions include OCAD University and National Institute of Design representation from Canada and India respectively.

The Design School Social Media Rankings 2014 can be found here.


The Design School Social Media Ranking methodology was based on overall reach and does not represent the activity or engagement from its followers and subscribers on each of the social media platforms. Each platform was given equal weight, however YouTube subscribers may consume video for an extended period of time, while LinkedIn followers may engage with the platform during job recruiting periods. Selected design schools included in the data collection had to be an independent institution offering a range of art and design degrees and have a minimum of 500 students enrolled to be considered for the ranking. Departments within university or colleges were not considered because of lack of data across the different social media platforms.

Steve is an innovation and management professor, researcher and traveler. He currently holds a faculty position in the Kate Tiedemann College of Business at the University of South Florida- St. Petersburg. Steve has been a researcher at ESADE Business School in Barcelona, Spain and Imperial Business School in London, UK in the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Group.

As a professor, he teaches courses in management and uses design thinking for problem solving in the areas of innovation, strategy and entrepreneurship. Steve is the founder of the Finger Puppet Management Framework- an edtech initiative to teach management in the classroom where students create TV shows to learn and to educate the world about management.

Steve is a researcher of open innovation and has worked with IBM and their Innovation Jam Platform. He has published on how large organizations such as IBM are utilizing Innovation Jams as a new model of innovation that taps into the collective knowledge of the organizational network. This research stream suggests that managers do not have all the information needed to make informed decisions and benefit from open models of decision support. Learn more about these projects at 

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