The Importance of Teaching Textiles in University Programs

This paper discusses the use of integrated, transdisciplinary approaches to the teaching of textiles courses in university home economics programs. These approaches give students the best possible background when selecting textile-based products and/or utilizing them in various occupations. The focus of the paper is to highlight the roles textiles play in fashion, functional products (i.e., medical, industrial), art products, sustainable textile products, among others.

The authors suggest the following approaches to be used in the teaching of textiles: new technologies such as LEDs, 3D printers, nanotechnologies and New Product Development (NPD) in addition to textile science and technology. The use of 3D printers can duplicate the appearance/texture of skin-like textiles for prostheses. While New Product Development (NPD) can be used to market traditional textiles for income generation locally/online.

We recommend that the teaching and learning of textiles must be clearly stated in terms relevant to students designing textiles for dress line, and designing/selecting textiles which have unique performance characteristics for functional products. This project was funded by the University of Arkansas, Pine Bluff (UAPB) Evans Allen Grant.

Kaye Crippen, Ph.D, Professor, University of Arkansas, Pine Bluff, USA

Patricia M. Mulready, M.S., M.Phil., Morgan State University, Baltimore, MD, USA