Betsy Barnhart

A picture of Betsy Barnhart
  • MSP Director, Department of Design
  • Program Director of Industrial Design
  • Assistant Professor of Industrial Design

Contact Info


As the Director of the Institute of Sports and Entertainment Design, and an Assistant Professor of Design, Betsy is focused on providing a connection between academic institutions and private practice to tackle large-scale, complex design problems. Prior to joining KU, Betsy was an Assistant Professor at Iowa State University where she led multi-disciplinary sponsored studios with a focus on market disruption and innovation. Betsy completed her MFA in Industrial Design from the Rochester Institute of Technology, followed by ten years of professional practice as the Design Manager at STX LLC (an industry leader in Lacrosse, Ice Hockey, and Field Hockey equipment). During this time, Betsy also designed for Nike Lacrosse as a Licensee, where she focused on protective equipment for Lacrosse as well as performance hard goods equipment. She also was a Senior Industrial Designer at Newell Rubbermaid and worked at an architectural scale as an Immersive Designer at Sardi Design and as an Exhibit Designer. Additionally, Betsy has five patents pending and has been awarded several patents for her designs. She has an extensive background in design research, design, product validation and testing, production and manufacturing processes.

Betsy currently teaches the Senior Industrial Design Studio and Materials and Manufacturing Processes at the University of Kansas. Her academic research focuses on innovation and market disruption in sporting goods design through connecting private practice to academic institutions, and raising awareness of and building gender equality for women and minorities in the field of Industrial Design. Betsy continues to build her studio practice as a consultant for Nike and STX Lacrosse.