New Interim Director for MHCI+D

Axel Roesler Steps up as Interim Faculty Director


The UW School of Art + Art History + Design and the UW Graduate School have announced the appointment of the Interim Director of the MHCI+D program, Axel Roesler, who will serve through the coming academic year. Roesler is a Marsha and Jay Glazer Endowed University Professor, Associate Professor and Program Chair of the Interaction Design in the School of Art + Art History + Design. Roesler has taught the core course Designing Interactive Systems for the past two years and will do so again this year. He worked with numerous MHCI+D students in his Interaction Design Studios in the Division of Design and also co-taught the program’s very first course, the Ideation Studio, in the Fall of 2013. Roesler recently published a case study in the International Journal of Design: Practice-Centered Design of an Anesthesia Medication Template to Reduce Medication Handling Errors in the Operating Room and has worked on design projects in aviation and mixed reality with industry and research partners that include Microsoft, Google, Honeywell Aerospace, Boeing, and NASA. 

Michael Smith served as MHCI+D Faculty Director from Fall, 2016 through Summer, 2019. He is returning to the design industry as Director of Design for Substantial. Previously, he worked at Ascentium and frog Design in Seattle. During his time guiding the program, Smith added cohesion and sequencing to the core course series, making them build upon each other better. He instilled a studio learning culture. Smith also elevated design standards for the program as a whole, setting high standards for the output of the students.

Roesler’s focus during this interim year will be to carry forward momentum created by previous directors, Michael Smith and Linda Wagner, along with building a bridge for the successful start-up of the program’s third faculty director. Roesler says:

“I have been involved in shaping this program since the founding faculty group first formed in 2009. I am excited to offer my leadership during this transition year, keeping alive the vision we have of an energizing, challenging, and rewarding interdisciplinary program that is really one of its kind at the intersection of HCI and design.” 

Roesler will stay on until the beginning of the next academic year to serve as a bridge for a successful hand-off to the incoming Faculty Director, Amanda Menking.