Feature Stories

Design Teacher Named an Educator of the Year

Jose Alcala, (left) a university lecturer in industrial design, was named one of the 30 Most Admired Educators for 2014 by DesignIntelligence magazine.

Jose Alcala, a university lecturer of Industrial Design, was named one of the 30 Most Admired Educators for 2014 by DesignIntelligence magazine.

Each year, the magazine, which covers architecture and design, picks 30 “exemplary professionals” from the fields of architecture, industrial design, interior design and landscape architecture. Alcala was selected by the magazine’s staff members, who consulted with design professionals, academic department heads and students before making their selections.  

In the current issue of the magazine, Alcala is described as a “knowledgeable, good humored and humble professor and practitioner who is fully dedicated to his students, their education and ultimately their success. He has a broad knowledge on many subjects, and is able to share it in a way that students are able to understand and use. His feedback is always respected and illuminating.”

Alcala, who is also the coordinator of the Industrial Design Program in the School of Art + Design, has more than 20 years’ experience in the design field. He has designed electronic projects, furniture, exhibitions and  buildings and has 10 patents.

Along with being a teacher, Alcala is also a practitioner.  He co-founded two businesses in Montclair:  MADLAB, a contemporary “shop” that does architecture, interior design, product design, fabrication and design-build services; and RELAB, a company that focuses on design, engineering, the fabrication and installation of sustainable products such as Building Integrated Photovoltaic, Solar Thermal, and Micro Wind Turbine. The company just completed two renewable energy projects at Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation´s headquarters in East Hanover, N.J.

It’s not the first time Alcala has been recognized for his superb teaching.  In 2011, NJIT gave him the “Excellence in Instruction by a University Lecturer Award.”

Urs Gauchat, dean of the College of Art and Design, says that “students are enthralled by Jose, who is like a “Pied Piper.  Colleagues refer to his high standing in the professional design community, but the ultimate tributes come from his students, who trust him completely as someone “who will always have our back” and who "sees greatness in every student he taught.”

By Robert Florida