Betsy Barnhart

Betsy Barnhart
  • Associate Professor, Industrial Design
  • Program Director, Industrial Design

Contact Info

Chalmers Hall, Rm 348


Betsy Barnhart, IDSA, is an Associate Professor and Program Director of Industrial Design, and the program director for the Multicultural Design Scholars Program (MDSP) at the University of Kansas. She is also a leader of the Industrial Design Society of America's (IDSA) Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council (DEIC) and serves on the advisory council for the IDSA Women in Design Committee. Betsy was the recipient of the IDSA's Young Educator of the Year Award in 2020.


Betsy's research focuses on addressing inequities in industrial design: specifically, the under-representation of women in practice, design leadership, and education. She is gathering core data to better assess the status of women and minorities in industrial design practice and conducting skills assessments internationally to show disparities in learning outcomes for women and minorities in industrial design education. She is also an accomplished sporting goods designer with over fifteen years of industrial design experience and continues her professional practice designing sporting goods equipment, having received several patents for her design work.

Betsy's educational practice is based on her extensive experience as an industrial design practitioner, bringing into the classroom real-world experiences, focusing on innovation and market disruption in consumer products and sporting goods through industry partnerships with companies like Newell Brands, Stanley Black and Decker, Orvis, Zebco, and United Sports Brands. She also serves as the IDSA education liaison for the Kansas City chapter, and as faculty advisor to the IDSA University of Kansas student chapter.

Before joining the University of Kansas, Betsy was an assistant professor at Iowa State University and taught at Towson University and the Rochester Institute of Technology. Prior to teaching, she was the design manager at STX, a licensee of Nike, and worked as an industrial designer at Newell Brands and at Sardi Design. She is an active member of the Industrial Designers' Society of America. 


MFA, Rochester Institute of Technology, 2007