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Ross McClain CV

Ross McClain

Ross McClain is an Associate Professor of Art in the Furman University Department of Art which he has Chaired for the past nine years. He also serves as Director for the Master of Arts in Strategic Design program. Since joining the faculty in 1999, Ross has taught all levels of Graphic Design, Brand Identity and Strategy. Ross is an advocate of design as a medium/tool to tell stories through the mindset of empathy. He believes empathy is the centerpiece to a human-centered design process. People should provide the inspiration and direction for ideas, rather than simply utilizing the latest trend or absolute reliance on one’s expertise. Responding to human feelings and concerns allows him to create designs that are truly powerful, useful and meaningful to people and society.


His interest is in curriculum development and creating interdisciplinary paths that integrate the arts in meaningful ways.  Exploring diversity coupled with skills for transitioning to tap into innovative thinking through making. He believes creativity resides in the intersection of difference. Basically, exploring the conversation of the barriers toward creativity through making as it relates to entrepreneurship.


As Chair of the Department of Art, Ross has eliminated barriers that existed in the Visual Arts to allow a broader connection within the liberal arts. He believes the Fine Arts true mission at a liberal arts university is to reestablish itself as a beacon of creativity, inspiration, mindfulness, resilience and curiosity through the practice of making and reflection in the hearts and minds of students.

As Director of the Master of Art in Strategic Design, Ross created and built the program off of the work he established as Chair of the Art Department. He pulled together four departments at Furman including Business, Communications, English, and Art along with the portfolio model from Miami Ad School @ Portfolio Center to create a program that gives the breadth of an M.B.A. program and the depth of an M.F.A. in design. Establishing a deep understanding of theory, market strategy, and business analysis while connecting students to a creative world-wide network to think globally about design.

A graduate from Western Kentucky University class of 1993 with a B.A. in Advertising and Graphic Design, Ross completed graduate work in Design at the University of Iowa, earning M.A. (1998) and M.F.A. (1999) degrees.

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