Speer, Leslie E

Speer, Leslie E

Assoc Professor, Design


Preferred: Leslie.Speer@sjsu.edu


Preferred: (408) 924-4376




  • Master of Design (MDes), Product Design, Innovation & Management, Middlesex University, London, UK, 2006
  • Master's design research, ENSCI, Paris, France
  • Bachelor of Science, Industrial Design, CSU-Long Beach, California, United States, 1983


Leslie Speer is a designer and educator with a long-time passion for helping people use design to improve their world and others’ lives. For the two decades she has been educating students, currently as a professor in industrial design at San José State University and, before that, as professor and Associate Chair at California College of the Arts. She emphasizes innovative interdisciplinary courses and projects, often with students or user populations in economically depressed markets like Central America, Africa, and Mexico. She pioneered the teaching of sustainable design and design research to undergraduates while at CCA, and for ten years co-taught a new product development class with design students collaborating with MBA and graduate engineering students from UC Berkeley. Leslie received the prestigious Educator of the Year award from the Industrial Designers Society of America in 2009. Professionally she has worked for companies and clients in the USA, Europe and Mexico, including Dupont, Philips, Oracle/Sun Microsystems, frog design, the Costa Rican Ministry of Culture, Banomex, and various NGOs. She has extensive consulting experience in developing markets including Mexico, Costa Rica, China and Cameroon, working on initiatives using design to create economic stability for artisans and rural farmers. She is the founder of the IDSA Design for the Majority Professional Interest Section, and is a guest lecturer at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Création Industrielle in Paris, and at the Shanghai Institute of Visual Arts in China. Education: BS in industrial design from California State University at Long Beach. Masters in Design (MDES) from Middlesex University in the UK.