Michael Schmidt

Michael Schmidt

Associate Professor

032 Art & Communication
Office Hours
Email for an appointment

Brochure for the exhibit Word as Image Poster for a community fundraiser Logo for Memphis’ Peace and Justice Center Poster promoting the photo exhibit of a good friend obligingly designed in the style of his choice Logo and signage for a local, faith-based fair trade store FitKids health campaign materials for the UofM School of Public Health Poster advertising a University of Memphis dance concert Information sheet designed for UNICEF Canada and the Child Rights Impact Assessment Community of Practice Department of Art promotional catalog and poster Hate crime response ads designed after 9/11 and sponsored by the Federal Bureau of Investigation


Michael Schmidt, Associate Professor of Graphic Design, earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts at Ohio University, Master of Graphic Design at North Carolina State University, and Doctor of Philosophy in social and behavioral sciences at the University of Memphis. Michael was named a University of Memphis "PI Millionaire" while director of the UofM's Center for Multimedia Arts for the center's externally-funded print, exhibit, interactive, and video projects. Most of the Center's work promoted child, family, and community health needs, which led to Michael's Alumni Association Award for Excellence in Engaged Scholarship. Michael's independent design work was published in Graphic Design: USA, Print Magazine, Emigre, and Designer. He received the University and College Designers Association Gold Award and Silver Award, as well as several other design competition awards for excellence. His writings on design were published in four Allworth Press anthologies and Emigre Magazine. He delivered design presentations at major conferences, including CAA, IASDR, and UCDA. Michael's interest in design for children's health and rights included work with St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Duke Children's Hospital, The Urban Child Institute, Shelby County Government, UNICEF Canada, and The University of Memphis School of Public Health. Michael's health and child rights-related work was presented to a joint committee of the Tennessee State House and Senate, the U.S. House and Senate (via child advocacy group First Focus), and the international child rights community (via UNICEF Canada). He was interviewed by the Boston Globe, wrote an invited article for Communities and Banking (the magazine of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston), and donated his child rights advocacy knowledge to the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute and the Child Rights Impact Assessment Community of Practice (a collaboration with colleagues from UNICEF Canada and the University of Aukland, NZ).


  • Ohio University, Athens, OH B.F.A. 1992 Graphic Design
  • North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC M.G.D. 1994 Graphic Design w/ minor in Cultural Anthropology
  • University of Memphis, Memphis, TN, Ph.D. (2019) Social and Behavioral Sciences


  • 2001- Tenured Associate Professor, The University of Memphis, Memphis, TN
  • 2004-2014 Director, Center for Multimedia Arts, The University of Memphis, Memphis, TN
  • 1995-2001 Assistant Professor, The University of Memphis, Memphis, TN
  • 1994-1995 Assistant Professor, Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, Edinboro, PA
  • 1994-1995 Design Contractor, Design Room, Cleveland, OH
  • 1993 Design Contractor, Seer Technologies, Inc., Raleigh, NC


  • 2015 Phi Kappa Phi, academic honorary society
  • 2012 Faculty Millionaire Award recipient for external contracts and grants awarded the Center for Multimedia Arts, University of Memphis
  • 2008 University of Memphis Alumni Association Excellence in Engaged Scholarship Award recipient
  • 2007 Instructional & Educational Leadership Grant recipient
  • 1998-1999 Graphic Designer of several print pieces, which won the following national awards: Award of Design Excellence, PRINT Magazine; two American Graphic Design Awards, Graphic Design:usa; Award of Design Excellence, University & College Designers Association; Silver Award, University & College Designers Association; Gold Award, University & College Designers Association.
  • 1997-2002 Production designer for three films selected for the following regional and national juried film festival screenings: Cinema Arts Center's International Film Festival, Huntington, NY; Vermillion International Film Festival, SD; Houston International Film Festival, Houston, TX; West Palm Beach Independent Film Festival, W Palm Beach, FL; Rochester International Film Festival, Rochester, NY; Smokey Mountain/Nantahala Media Festival; James River Film Festival, Richmond, VA; Flagstaff International Film Festival, Flagstaff, AZ; Media Co-op Film Fest, Memphis, TN; Indie Memphis Film Fest, Memphis, TN; Memphis Film Forum International Film Festival, Memphis, TN. Also selected for the following conference screenings: Beijing Broadcasting Institute, Beijing, China; University Film and Video Association, Winston-Salem, NC; Tennessee Speech and Communication Association, Jackson, TN; Southern States Communication Association Conference, Savannah, GA.
  • 1997-1998 Production designer for two films, which won the following national and international film festival awards: Silver, Worldfest Houston; Second Place, West Palm Beach; Honorable Mention, Smokey Mountain/Nantahala; Honorable Mention, Rochester International; Bronze Award, Flagstaff International; Award of Distinction, The Communicator Awards.
  • 1996-2006 Received three separate grants from the Memphis Arts Council for curatorial and film work; received several grants from the University of Memphis for various research initiatives; received $83K bioethics grant from the Greenwall Foundation for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital project initiative (team award).
  • 1996-2000 Graphic Designer of work selected for the following regional and national juried exhibitions: Designer as Author: Voices and Visions, Northern Kentucky University; Communigraphics Design Best 100 Show, Memphis College of Art; Designers as Artists, Western Kentucky University; UCDA Transcendence '99, San Francisco, CA; This is Good Design 1, The Urban Art Institute, Chattanooga, TN.


  • 2013 – 2016 FitKids: A community-clinic linked interactive tool for pediatric obesity screening and intervention (The Tennessee Foundation, Chattanooga, TN; Dr. Ken Ward, PI). This demonstration project implements and evaluates the acceptability, feasibility, and effectiveness of a novel eHealth application to assess and intervene on childhood obesity by linking parents, community organizations, and healthcare providers.
  • 2009 – 2014 Information design and software application design for drafting child rights impact assessments (Governments of Shelby County, TN and Memphis, TN). Based on the 1989/90 UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and titled SHELBY (Safety, Health, Education, and Land use decisions on behalf of children and Youth), this project developed the first child rights impact assessment tool in the United States.
  • 2009 Interactive multimedia assent aid for pediatric cancer patients (Duke Children's Hospital and the Greenwall Foundation). This project developed a prototype for an interactive tablet-based application designed to help pediatric cancer patients communicate their end-of-life experience and study participation preferences.
  • 2007-2008 Exhibit design (graphics, videos, and physical interactive exhibits) on promoting healthy early childhood brain development (The Urban Child Institute, Memphis, TN). This permanent exhibit, installed in the lobby of The Urban Child Institute, is visited by hundreds of people each year. Topics cover the science of early childhood brain development, the risks of adverse childhood experiences, and parent-child interaction techniques to promote physical and cognitive development.
  • 2004 – 2006 Currently Co-PI on the following Memphis-based and Center for Multimedia Arts-related research: "Developing Interactive Media Support in Pediatric Phase 1 Clinical Trials" (funded by the Greenwall Foundation); digital 3D imaging databases and 3D curricula development for formal and informal learner environments in Native American Tribal Communities; advancing civic engagement through communication design for peace & justice and fair taxation organizations.
  • 1994 – 2004 The past ten years laid the groundwork for current research. My core activities were graphic design instruction, graphic design practice, design writing for publications and presentations, filmmaking (production design, writing, directing, and editing), and curatorship of design exhibitions. Research in more recent years moved towards work for social justice, such as an anti-hate campaign after 9/11, identity design for the MidSouth Peace and Justice Center, intensive media technology consultation for the National Civil Rights Museum, and design writing and lecturing on the injustices of globalization. Most of the work of this ten-year period was multidisciplinary and collaborative.


  • Clayton, M.M., McDonald, S.L., Homayouni, R., ... Schmidt, M. (9th author of 12). (2015). FitKids: A Web-based, mHealth tool to enhance parents' participation in improving child health. Journal of the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics 115(9), 94.
  • Schmidt, M. (2015). Focusing on children's rights to fight poverty, Communities & Banking: The Magazine of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. 26(3), 4-6.
  • Barfield, R.C., Brandon, D., Thompson, J., Harris, N., Schmidt, M., & Docherty, S. (2010). Mind the child: Using interactive technology to improve child involvement in decision making about life-limiting illness. The American Journal of Bioethics, 10(4), 28-30.
  • Young, A.J., Kim, L., Li, S., Baker, J., Schmidt, M., Camp, J.W., and Barfield, R.C. (2010). Agency and communication challenges in discussions of informed consent in pediatric cancer research, Qualitative Health Research, 20(5), 628-43.
  • Schmidt, M., & Barfield R. (2008). Visualizing meaningful assent: Interactive media design for pediatric advance care planning. 24/7/365 The International Journal of Healthcare & Humanities. 2(2), 1-5.
  • Schmidt, M., & Coffey, J. "Change in Sight: Child Well-Being as a Policy Development Framework." In Big Ideas: Game Changers for Children, edited by Bruce Lesley and Shadi Houshyar. Washington, DC: First Focus, 2010.
  •  Schmidt, M. "Letter to the Editor." IN Emigre No.70: The Look Back Issue – Celebrating 25 Years in Graphic Design. Berkeley: Gingko Press, 2009.
  • Schmidt, Michael. "Concerns for Education in Today's Typographic Universe." In The Education of the Typographer, edited by Steven Heller, New York: Allworth Press, 2004. (Requested for republication in Spanish by the editors of the University of Chile publication, Revista Chilena Diseño.)
  • Schmidt, Michael. "Hello Ms. Hernandez." Emigre, no. 67 (2004): 9-20.
  • Schmidt, Michael. "Responsibility Answers Absurdity." In Citizen Designer, edited by Steven Heller. New York: Allworth Press, 2003.
  • Schmidt, Michael. "Techno Polemics in the Networked World Order." AIGA Chicago Future History Conference:Paper Presentations (2002): www.futurehistory.info/papers.html
  • Schmidt, Michael. "The Digital Designer/Filmmaker: Overcoming Motion Sickness." In The Education of an E-Designer, edited by Steven Heller, 230-236. New York: Allworth Press, 2001.
  • Schmidt, Michael. "Operation Snowstorm: How Brands Ate the World." News of the Whirled, no. 3 (2001): 60-67.
  • Schmidt, Michael. "Word as Image: Traveling Exhibition of Contemporary Graphic Design." designer: The Official Publication of the University and College Designers Association (Winter 2000/Spring 2001): 26-31.
  • Schmidt, Michael. "Two Days In Limbo." In Graphic Design & Reading, edited by Gunnar Swanson, 9-19. New York: Allworth Press, 2000.
  • Schmidt, Michael. "Dear Emigre." Emigre, no. 47 (1998): 73-75.
  • Schmidt, Michael. "Remaking the Designer." Concentrated Form (1996) — Thesis excerpt published in this NC State School of Design publication. Andrew Blauvelt, editor and thesis chair.


  • Health Assessments & Environmental Justice: A Series of Questionable Events, Sierra Club Annual Regional Conference, Memphis, TN, November 2014.
  • Children's Rights and Civic Engagement, BRIDGES, Memphis, TN, Fall 2013-Spring 2014. Ongoing monthly presentation series for youth members of Bridge Builders.
  • Lessons in Making Child Impact Assessment Into a Tool Simple Enough for Everyone in Government to Use, Ottawa, Ontario, May 2013. UNICEF Canada
  • SHELBY Child Impact Assessment Overview and Introduction for Shelby County Commissioner Mike Carpenter—Children's Champion Award Winner, National Children's Budget Summit, National Press Club, Washington, D.C., July 2011.
  • Child Impact Statements as Means to Foreground Children in Policy Development and Decision-Making. TN Commission on Children and Youth, Nashville, March 2011.
  • SHELBY Child Impact Assessment: An Overview, Livable Memphis Conference, Memphis, TN, September 2011.
  • Graphic Design as Art, Dixon Gallery and Gardens "Munch & Learn," Memphis, TN, November 2011.
  • The Disaster Survivor's Perspective as Documented by the CMA in After the Storm. United Way Media and Disaster Recovery conference, Memphis, 2010.
  • Child Impact Statements as Means to Foreground Children in Policy Development and Decision-Making. First Focus, Washington, D.C., August 2010.
  • Child Impact Statements as Means to Foreground Children in Policy Development and Decision-Making. Memphis Rotary, Memphis, October 2010.
  • Child Impact Statements as Means to Foreground Children in Policy Development and Decision-Making. TN Select Committee on Children and Youth, Nashville, July 2010.
  • Communication Design and Usability. St. Jude Cure4Kids Innovation Network, online meeting, 2008.
  • Design Thinking and Decision Making. Presentation to St. Jude Palliative & EoL Research Working Group, Memphis, 2007.
  • Design Studies at the University of Memphis, Fachhochschule, Ulm, November 2005
  • Health and Culture: Applied Research and Technology Examples from The University of Memphis Center for Multimedia Arts, American Society of Information Systems and Technology National Conference, October 2005.
  • From Health to Living History: Applications in Research and Technology, Memphis Regional Chamber of Commerce, September 2005
  • Word and Image, Warp and Weft: Threads in the Same Fabric, MidSouth Chapter of the Society of Technical Communicators. March 2005
  • Directing an Independent Film, Memphis International Film Festival. April 2002.
  • The Influence of the Bauhaus, Memphis College of Art, October 1999.
  • Word and Image: Design and Ideology, North Carolina State University, October 1998.
  • Word and Image: Design and Ideology, Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. October 1997.
  • Presentation of personal design work: Ohio University, October 1995.


  • I Wasn't Trained for This: Designing Decision-Making Aids to Assist Families Considering High-Risk Pediatric Clinical Trials. International Association of Societies of Design Research Annual Conference, Hong Kong, November 2007.
  • Graphic Design: Distributed to the Max? College Art Association 93rd Annual Conference, Atlanta, February, 2005.
  • Free Trade Graphic Design: Dangerous Economics Behind the Visual Message, Design History Society Annual Conference, Belfast, September 2004.
  • Collaboration or Collusion? Coordination or Control? College Art Association 92nd Annual Conference, Seattle, February, 2004.
  • Graphic and Typographic Design Education in the Globalization Epoch, University of Minnesota, October 2003.


  • Schmidt, M. (2011). Child wellbeing as a framework for community policy development. Poster session. 139th Annual Conference of the American Public Health Association, Washington, D.C.
  • Child Impact Assessment: Foregrounding Children and Families in Local Policy Through Design-Driven Decision Making. 4th National Research Conference on Child and Family Programs and Policy, Bridgewater State University, MA, July 2011. (Accepted but was not able to present due to personal circumstances.)
  • Legacy Building and the Suffering Child's Sense of the Future. American Society for Bioethics and Humanities Annual Conference, Cleveland, October, 2008.
  • Employing Visual Design to Support an Ethical Decision-Making Process Regarding High-Risk Clinical Trials in Pediatric Oncology. Sixth Annual Pennsylvania Medical Humanities Consortium Meeting, Pittsburgh, May 2008.
  • Medicine, Design and Ethics: Bridging Disciplines to Enable Meaningful Assent in Pediatric Phase 1 Trials. American Society for Bioethics and Humanities Annual Conference, Washington, D.C., October 2007.
  • Health and Culture: Applied Research and Technology Examples from The University of Memphis Center for Multimedia Arts. American Society of Information Systems and Technology National Conference, Charlotte, October 2005.
  • Techno Polemics and the Networked World Order, American Institute of Graphic Arts—Chicago, October 2002.
  • Word and Image: A Traveling Exhibition, University and College Designers Association National Conference, September 2000.
  • Word and Image: A Traveling Exhibition, American Institute of Graphic Arts National Design Conference, November 1997.


  • Throop, Elizabeth. "Being Serious, Being Popular: Positioning Design Research" In Design Studies: Theory and Research in Graphic Design, edited by Audrey Bennett and Steven Heller: Princeton Architectural Press, 2006. (This book chapter describes the CMA's project initiative with St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
  • Fiss, Karen. "Eating the Other." Print Magazine, (January/February) 2006: 59. (This magazine article quotes from one of my essays on the inequity of globalization.)
  • My essays have been added as required readings to university courses in the US, Canada, and Australia.