Verena Paepcke-Hjeltness, IDSA is a guest faculty member in the Department of Design for the M.A. in Design focused on Design in Health program. She currently serves as an Assistant Professor of Industrial Design at Iowa State University, as well as Education Director and Board Member at the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA) and Board of Trustees of the IDSA Design Foundation. Since 2020 she is Sketchnoting Ambassador for the Polish Szkoła 21.
Previously Verena taught courses in The University of Texas at Austin Department of Design, where she led curriculum revisions for the M.F.A. in Design. She was Assistant Professor of Product Design at Drexel University, where she also held the position of Associate Program Director. She taught for eight years at the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), where she founded and originally lead the M.A. and Undergraduate Minor in Design for Sustainability and later coordinated the eLearning Program in Design Management.
Throughout the years, she has taught several industry-sponsored courses with companies such as Gulfstream, Freescale, Newell Rubbermaid/Goody, Dell, and Vermeer. In addition she exposed her students to community-based design projects with the City of Tybee Island and the Rochester Library in Illinois with a focus on sustainable practices.
She has worked both in Germany and the U.S. as an industrial designer with a focus on aviation and transportation design.
Her research focuses on the diffusion of design thinking and doing practices in design and non-design-oriented disciplines, with a focus on exploring visualization as a gateway to learning, comprehension and creative confidence. She frequently facilitates workshops on sketchnoting, design thinking and strategic planning in both academia and industry.
She graduated from the University of Applied Sciences in Potsdam, Germany with a degree in industrial and environmental design and earned her M.F.A. in industrial design at The Ohio State University.