A welcome note from Borjana Mikic
Faculty Director of the Design Thinking Initiative
One of the exciting aspects of undertaking this initiative at Smith is the fact that we are choosing to navigate by compass rather than map; the outcome will depend entirely on who chooses to get involved, and in that sense it is hard for us to predict exactly what “Design Thinking at Smith” will look like four years from now.
Our hope is to tap into faculty and student desires to “make” collaboratively across disciplinary lines, to create physical spaces that enable this kind of work, and to build on synergistic initiatives and curricular experiments that are already happening across the College. These parallel conversations that we are tapping into include the work on Knowledge Building through the Sherrerd Center and a series of events we are organizing together on the ways in which making can deepen understanding and improve thinking; exciting discussions about Smith as a Creative Campus that are emerging as an important component of college-wide strategic planning; overlapping goals with the Conway Center around enabling our students to make institutional change a meaningful form of entrepreneurship; and potential collaborations with faculty and staff in Landscape Studies, CEEDS, Environmental Science and Policy, Architecture, and the Office for Campus Planning to create student cohorts that will engage in environmental design challenges on our own campus.
One thing that we do know is that Design Thinking at Smith will be a unique reflection of our interests and values as an undergraduate women’s liberal arts college; I doubt the end result will resemble design thinking programs at other institutions, nor should it! We have much to contribute as a community to the growing national conversation about Design Thinking and the Liberal Arts.