Terry Irwin is the Head of the School of Design at Carnegie Mellon University and has been teaching at the University level since 1986. Her research is in Transition Design, a new area of design study, practice and research that argues for societal transition toward more sustainable futures. Terry, along with Gideon Kossoff and Cameron Tonkinwise developed Transition Design and integrated into programs and curricula at the School of Design in 2014.
Terry has been a practicing designer for more than 40 years and was one of the founding partners of MetaDesign, an international design firm with offices in Berlin, London, San Francisco and Zurich. She served as the Creative Director of the San Francisco office from 1992 to 2002 and worked with Fortune 500 clients such as Nike, Apple Computer, Hewlett-Packard, Barclay's Bank, Ernst and Young (EY), Nissan, Sony, and Berlin's Transport Company, BVG.
In 2003 she moved to Devon, England to undertake a Masters in Holistic Science at Schumacher College. After completing her studies, she joined the faculty at Schumacher and taught ecological design thinking and process to students with backgrounds in biology, ecology, physics, sociology and activism. This experience convinced her that large, complex problems can only be solved by transdisciplinary, collaborative teams and that design has a powerful role to play as a catalyst for positive social and environmental change.