Director: Dean Nieusma
The interdisciplinary Design and Innovation program entails a set of integrated, studio-based curricula that span the social sciences, engineering, management, and communication. All Design Innovation students pursue a B.S. degree in Design, Innovation, and Society (DIS), which is offered by the Department of Science and Technology Studies. Design and Innovation students also pursue a dual major in one of the following areas: Mechanical Engineering, Management, and Communication/Graphic Design. Other dual major combinations are possible.
The DIS curriculum teaches inspired, hands-on design as well as the cultural, ethical, historical, and policy dimensions of design, providing insight into a wide range of potential spaces for innovation. The core of the DIS curriculum is a sequence of design studios, where students gain experience conceiving, developing, and iterating real-world solutions to the problems facing humanity today. The DIS studio sequence entails five design studios, which are common across all Design and Innovation curricula. Two additional studios are offered in each student’s area of specialization (e.g., Mechanical Engineering, Management, Communication, DIS). In total, seven design studios are offered across eight semesters. This sequence of studios helps students explore and develop their creative problems solving skills while building a portfolio of design experience continuously throughout all four years.
While all Design and Innovation students satisfy the DIS degree requirements, students pursuing dual majors also satisfy the degree requirements in their other area of specialization. Design and Innovation dual major curricula have been designed to meet both sets of degree requirements in eight semesters - the same as for a single major. For technically oriented students, the dual major in Mechanical Engineering provides an ABET-accredited education in engineering with a focus on design methodology in general and mechanical design techniques in particular. For students interested in business, the dual major in Management teaches management theory and practice, with course offerings in product design and development, marketing, and entrepreneurship. For students interested in creative design, the dual major in Communication (with a concentration in graphic design) teaches communication and visual theory and hands-on skills in print and electronic media.
The interdisciplinary Design and Innovation program provides students with a wide range of design experiences covering a breadth of problems, from focused problems facing specific groups of consumers to larger, systemic problems facing communities and the planet, so students are exposed to all the different applications of design practive. The Design and Innovation program provides all the elements necessary to put students’ creativity to work as leaders of design and innovation, whether it is in a multinational corporation at the cutting edge of the global marketplace or in a start-up business venture that creates a unique solution to an important problem.