Photograph by Ron Hester

Eric O’Toole has been named the new assistant dean of the Pratt Institute’s School of Design. He assumed the role on July 1, 2022. O’Toole previously served as Acting Assistant Dean from January to June of this year and is an Associate Professor in the Department of Graduate Communications Design where he was Program Coordinator for the Masters of Science (MS) in packaging, identities and systems design.

Reporting to School of Design Dean Anita Cooney, O’Toole will work across all departments of the school, including communications design, fashion, foundation, industrial design and interior design.

“I am very honored to have the opportunity to serve the Pratt community in this new role,” O’Toole said. “I look forward to working closely with students, friends and colleagues across the Institute and beyond to continue to advance the important work we do here at Pratt. This includes, but is not in no case limited to educating the next generation of design leaders who, in turn, will shape a better world for us all.

O’Toole’s professional and academic career has focused on learning through the language and practice of design. He began his time at Pratt as an undergraduate industrial design student, earning a bachelor’s degree in industrial design. He went on to earn a Masters in Interactive Digital Arts from the Institute. In 1993 he joined Pratt as a visiting assistant professor and since then has spent more than 20 years teaching graduate students and serving in various faculty and leadership positions.

Much of his professional career has involved designing interactive exhibits, from working with major museums to designing national parks. In the 1990s, he started his own exhibit design business after extensive experience as an exhibit designer at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum. His creations include exhibits for cultural and historical institutions across the country, including the Pittsburgh Children’s Museum, National Museum of the American Indian, Crater Lake National Park, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Washita Battlefield National Historic Site, the Brooklyn Historical Society and the George Washington Sculptors National Monument. These designs feature media-rich environments with compelling narratives to engage and inform visitors.