Center for Integrated Design offers new courses

Rachel Cooper

The Center for Integrated Design is offering courses to students from all majors to learn how to use creativity and design communication as a part of their everyday lives.

The College of Fine Arts founded the center in spring 2016 and held its inaugural Introduction to Design Thinking course last fall. The program added three one-hour courses this semester that lasted five weeks and now has its own field of study in the fall course schedule, offering a total of eight courses.

“In businesses today creativity is a necessity,” Center director Doreen Lorenzo said in an email. “Businesses need employees that can work across disciplines to find solutions to wicked problems. … Students coming out of this program will have a greater understanding and be better equipped as they enter the workforce.”

Lorenzo said the program aims to teach design thinking, a way to accelerate problem solving using creativity. This new perspective will help students in any field, ranging from engineering to business, Lorenzo said.

Lorenzo said all courses within the center will be a part of the Bridging Disciplines Program, a 19-hour certificate for undergraduates. In the near future, separate courses will be offered to graduate students. 

English and Japanese sophomore Caroline Rock is enrolled in all the program’s classes offered this semester. Rock said her favorite part about the program is it teaches her different ways to solve problems. 

“Very rarely are people born with the innate skills to be an artist, designer, developer,” Rock said. “I’ve learned so far that there are many ways to approach a problem and that these design thinking skills can be applied to any aspect of your life or your fields of interest.”

Lecturer Kevin McDonald taught the Introduction to Integrated Design course this semester and said students learned the most from guest speakers who came from different backgrounds and ended up in design. In future courses, McDonald said he hopes to bring in more speakers from different fields who use design thinking in their careers.

“In my mind, this type of design thinking is going to help you in whatever you do,” McDonald said. “It requires you to sort of get comfortable with a level of analysis that can help you no matter what — whether it be a job interview, an actual job or your hobbies.”