School of BusinessFaculty and Research

Allison Schumacher
Program Director, Product Innovation
Area: da Vinci Center for Innovation

da Vinci Center
807 S. Cathedral Place
Richmond, VA 23284
Office: 209
Phone: (804) 828-7188
Teaching Interests: Human-centered design, Product Innovation, Social Innovation, Venture Creation, Creative Problem Solving, Systems Thinking, Design Thinking, Graphic Design, Book Arts, Typography
Research Interests: Authenticity in design, human-centered design, product design/innovation, social innovation

Alchemy is the process of transforming something common into something special. Through iterative process, it is the Director of Academic Alchemy’s job to find the best chemistry for the da Vinci Center’s academic programs. We face this challenge with the understanding that there is always room to build better value for our students. With a passion for student success and cross-disciplinary education, Allison Schumacher joined Virginia Commonwealth University’s da Vinci Center as Program Director for Product Innovation in April 2015. Ms. Schumacher’s experience with the da Vinci Center began in January 2010 by serving as a faculty mentor for the Center’s Product Innovation culmination course: INNO 460: da Vinci Project. She has since worked with twenty-two cross-disciplinary student teams with various sponsors including, Pfizer, MeadWestvaco, Dominion, the State of Virginia, Science Museum of Virginia and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Before joining the da Vinci Center full time, Allison was an active member of the VCU School of the Arts serving as full time faculty and undergraduate advisor in the Department of Graphic Design. During this time, Ms. Schumacher implemented several new advising methods to show students the paths available beyond their major and in two years the number of students to enroll in minors, certificate programs, study abroad, etc. grew by 327%. In teaching, she emphasizes the importance of questioning, research, experimentation, systemic thinking, process, and clarity in communication. Her academic research centers on cultural and memory studies with considerations for authenticity in the design. Allison is also an entrepreneur and practicing freelance graphic designer with a client base focused in the Southeast U.S. Ms. Schumacher holds a MFA in Visual Communication from VCU and BFAs in Graphic Design and Printmaking from Appalachian State University.