Dana Bartelt, Director of the Prague Institute (2005-present) and Adjunct Associate Professor of Design, received her Bachelor's degree in Landscape Architecture (B.E.D.L.A '80) and her Master's degree in Graphic Design (M.P.D.V.D. '88) from North Carolina State University's College of Design. For 14 years (1991 to 2004), she directed the Summer Study in Prague Program for NC State's College of Design drawing students from all over the U.S. and Europe. Prior to accepting the position at the Prague Institute, Professor Bartelt was a tenured, Associate Professor of Graphic Design at Loyola University in New Orleans (1996-2005).

While a resident of Raleigh, North Carolina, for 24 years, her professional activities included being a principal of her graphic design firm Synergraphics (1988-1996), State Cartographer for the N.C. Geological Survey (1980-1984), and Landscape Architect's Assistant for Geoffrey McLean, Landscape Architect (1972-1974). Before arriving in Raleigh to study at N.C. State, she worked for the internationally renowned Landscape Architect, Dame Sylvia Crowe in London.

While in the U.S., Professor Bartelt was active in the graphic designer's professional organization, A.I.G.A. (American Institute of Graphic Arts) serving as President of the Raleigh Chapter, and founded and was President of the New Orleans Chapter, organizing many events and community based projects for each. Some of the projects include helping raise funds for Interact, a home for abused women, and the N.C. Food Bank-in Raleigh, and in New Orleans the Treme Street Academy, a school for troubled teens, and the New Orleans Musicians' Clinic, a non-profit healthcare agency. She also served on the Board of the Arab-American Anti-discrimination Committee of the New Orleans Chapter.

Dana Bartelt has curated several major poster exhibitions which traveled extensively throughout the United States including Contemporary Czechoslovak Posters (for the City Gallery of Contemporary Art, now the Contemporary Art Museum-CAM, Raleigh), Art as Activist: Revolutionary Posters from Central and Eastern Europe, with Dr. Marta Sylvestrova (for the Smithsonian Traveling Exhibition Service, Washington D.C.), and Both Sides of Peace: Palestinian and Israeli Political Poster Art (for CAM). She writes for major graphic design journals such as Print, Communication Arts, and Eye magazines. She lectures nationally including such venues as Princeton University, Boston Art Institute, Weisman Museum, Minneapolis, the Alternative Museum, New York
and internationally including the Royal College of Art, London, the Moravian Gallery, Brno, Czech Republic, Iranian Academy of Art, Tehran, and in Palestine-Birzeit University and the Sakakini Cultural Center, Ramallah. She has appeared on Stateline, UNC-TV and interviewed on radio and television-on the talk show, On Common Ground, UNO-TV.  The two books she produced are Art as Activist for the Smithsonian (Universe and Thames and Hudson Publishers) and Both Sides of Peace for CAM (University of Washington Press). She is currently writing the biography of Palestinian-American artist and renowned graphic designer Rajie (Roger) Cook.

She has received several design awards for her professional graphic design work including the Award of Excellence in the 2005 New Orleans A.I.G.A. Design Show, as well as recognition for her work at the Prague Institute, receiving an NC State College of Design EPA Award of Excellence in April, 2007.

At the Prague Institute, a College of Design initiative, Dana Bartelt is working to expand its offerings of programming to include courses for any NC State student. Several General Education courses and Design studios are being offered all year, with new ones being constantly considered and added. In the summers, other colleges/departments such as Agriculture and Life Sciences, Film Studies, Education, Accounting and International Studies are offering programming.  Utilizing the talents and expertise of both US-based and Czech faculty from prestigious Czech universities such as Charles University, the courses fulfill the Institute's goal of offering unique, culturally driven programming with the same standard of excellence expected at NC State University.

To reach Dana Bartelt: dana_bartelt@ncsu.edu

For more information on the Prague Institute: www.ncsu.cz

  • My Program
  • Advice for Students
  • Advice for Faculty Directors

Where do you lead a program?

The North Carolina State University's Prague Institute is located in the heart of Europe in Prague, Czech Republic. There are between 3 and 8 Study Abroad Programs running at the Prague Institute during the Spring, Summer and fall semesters. We have the following Programs: General Education Program, Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Fashion and Costume Design, 3D Game Development, Graphic Design, Photography, Film Studies, Women and Gender Studies, Education, Masters of Accounting (MAC) and International Studies.

How long have you run your study abroad program?

19 years. I've directed the programs in Prague since 1991 when it was only a summer program through the College of Design. In 2005 the Prague Institute was established as an all year facility and I was hired as its Director. In 2006, the Institute expanded its offerings so that any NC State student could take courses in Prague, and it's been growing ever since.

What makes your study abroad program unique?

It is the only overseas facility of the North Carolina University system. It is NC State University...in Prague. Our facilities are in a 13th century building in the center of Old Town Prague, replete with vaulted ceilings, balconies and meter thick walls, inside a quiet courtyard. All the programs incorporate the Czech cultural experience in its course content such as the World Literature course which focuses on Czech literature, or by the many extra-curricular activities such as a night at the National Theater for a Czech opera by Dvorak, or visits to the Institute by famous Czechs such as writer Ivan Klima or site visits to studios of Prague's famous designers and architects such as Vladimir Milunic who worked with internationally famous American architect Frank Gehry on the Dancing House in Prague, or a presentation by Prague's notorious sculptor David Cerny in a pub. A variety of exciting excursions from within the Czech Republic, such as the South Bohemia tour to many UNESCO World Heritage sites, or to other major European cities like Paris, Milan, Berlin or Vienna, complete the 'package' of the Prague Programs' experience.

What stands out as your favorite memory from the study abroad programs that you have directed?

Since it's been going on for so long, there are so many…from the beginning when we were standing in a beautiful field of sunflowers in South Bohemia marveling that just a couple years before we would have been behind the Iron Curtain- to recently… watching the grins emerge on the students' faces when they enter our amazing facilities. After their first opera experience, students will say they loved it! Seeing Jarrett interviewed on Czech TV after playing lacrosse with the winning Prague team at the Czech Nationals, going with the students to watch Darryl in a starring role in a play put on at a Czech theater, being at an architecture students' critique of work they brought back to Raleigh and the faculty are learning from their students! The excursion through Moravia visiting traditional weavers, tapestry artists, lace makers with the Fibers and Surface Design students and faculty and I learned from them! Going to the Prague Writers Festival to hear Ivan Klima and other Czech writers from the Prague Spring (1968) as well as mingling with Paul Auster and Margaret Atwood. Experiencing Paris' prêt-a-porter fashion fair with the students, going to faculty Bruce and Kelly Branson's dinner parties for the MAC students, going with CALS faculty Bob Patterson and his students to the Mendel Museum in Brno and sharing his excitement, going to Fashion Shows with the students, exploring the Prague political science scene with CHASS's Heidi Hobbs when developing the International Studies Program, rendezvousing with previous students when I visit Raleigh...yikes, there's so much more! And, of course, I have to admit, it sure feels good when at the end, I get a big hug and thank you, that it was a great experience!

If you could give prospective students one piece of advice about
study abroad, what would it be?

Soak in ALL the experiences, good and bad, learn from them, and figure a way to apply that knowledge in a positive way throughout your life. A second piece of advice: Don't expect it to be like 'home' and enjoy the differences!

What are you looking for from the students who apply to your program?

An appreciation of the differences in cultures, attitudes, environments.

What is the most rewarding aspect of being a Faculty Director?

To see how the experience influences the students in such positive ways. Sometimes they don't realize themselves immediately, and I'll hear from a student after a year or more how the Prague Experience affected them and influenced decisions later. Students have incorporated their experience into their Master's theses projects, others have had articles published directly related to what they learned here, and one previous student came back to teach at the Institute! (Don Corey, Prague '92 came back to teach part of the Industrial Design Studio Summer 07). Many of the former 'Pragsters' (translated from the Czech term 'Prazaci' for those who live here) keep in touch and it's amazing and gratifying to see how they translate their experience into their lives.

If you could give new Faculty Directors of study abroad programs one piece of advice about leading a program, what would it be?

Set the example with your curiosity, flexibility, knowledge, enthusiasm, tolerance, and joy of the experience.

What marketing tips would you suggest to your fellow Faculty Directors to encourage more NC State students to study abroad?

Former participants are the best promoters, but also encourage faculty who do not go on study abroad to encourage their students to go.