Skip to main content

The initiative is an inspirational reimagining of the liberal arts in which the humanities, social sciences and STEM disciplines work in synergy. We aim to serve as a bridge between disciplines and to open space for interdisciplinary making and doing.

Curricular Enhancement Grants

Interdisciplinary Making Curricular Enhancement Grant

The Design Thinking Initiative AY 2023/24 Call for Proposals
Application deadline: July 23, 2023        
Notification of grant recipients: July 30, 2023

Email Emily Norton at with questions or to discuss ideas.

With the launch of the new Interdisciplinary Making Concentration (IMX) in the fall of 2023, the Design Thinking Initiative (DTI) and the co-directors of IMX are excited to invite proposals for bringing makers to campus. We encourage an expansive understanding of making. We welcome proposals from all disciplines, and are especially interested in supporting proposals from disciplines that may not traditionally incorporate making. We see this as an opportunity to build a public workshop series that is embedded within the curriculum. Are there hands-on techniques that would help students explore topics in your course? Is there a practitioner whose work could animate core concepts in your curriculum? If so, we are eager to work with you to bring a guest to offer a lecture/workshop for your students and the Smith community. We welcome half-formed thoughts and are available to help develop your ideas.

To Apply

We will award $1,250 each to four proposals to bring a maker to campus in fall ’23 for a lecture/workshop for both students in your class/department and open the campus community. To apply, complete and submit an Application Form no later than July 23, 2023. The application will ask you for:

  • Your information and information on the course within which this lecture/workshop would happen.
  • Timing in the semester.
  • A written description of the lecture/workshop, the visitor you'd like to bring, and how you imagine the intervention will enhance your curriculum.  
  • A proposed budget. 
  • A summary of the support you will need. 

Forms of Course Support

All requests for fall ’23 must be made by August 1, 2023 using the forms hyperlinked below. Requests will be accommodated based on availability of resources and you will be notified by August 4, 2023 if your course support is confirmed.

Guest lecture(s) and/or workshop(s)

We are available to visit courses to introduce the theory and practice of human-centered design or design-related concepts and methodologies through lectures and/or workshop(s). Examples of this have included; an introduction to human-centered design for courses considering the built environment or experience design; a series of workshops introducing students to the power of making their ideas tangible through prototyping; a series of workshops introducing design principles and techniques for modeling, mapping, or visualizing concepts. Please complete this form to request this form of course support and schedule a Zoom with Emily to discuss.

Use of the classroom at DTI (Capen Annex)

Classes that integrate design or making in some way into their curriculum or could benefit from our flexible design thinking classroom (moveable and adjustable height tables, whiteboards, sticky notes, markers, and access to many lo-fi-making supplies). Please complete this Google Form and email to alert us of your request for the use of CA101. The room functions best at a max of 16 students but can squeeze 20 (not that comfortably). You can always check our classroom use calendar posted on our home page to check availability or search ‘The Design Thinking Initiative’ in Google calendar.  

Tools and materials check-out 

If you need supplies for simple making activities that can take place in your own classroom or to support a class project beyond use of Capen Annex please fill out this Google Form and email to alert us of the request. We can’t promise everything requested, but might suggest alternative supplies more readily available to us. The confirmation email will indicate where to pick your supplies up in the 'Pick-Up' bin at the entrance to Capen Annex. That same confirmation email will indicate which tools we expect to be returned to DTI by the end of the semester. If you’re not sure what supplies or materials you might need for an intended project simply schedule a meeting with Kathy and/or Emily to discuss.

Class tour / introduction to DTI 

An introduction to the lasercutter, vinyl cutter, 3D printer, or safety training can help show students the possibilities for making things available to them at DTI. The introduction will include ways that students can work individually to use the equipment. Schedule a tour of the space by filling out this Google Form and emailing to alert us of your request.  

Please visit our Studio & Hours page for more information on our space use policies.

Ways Faculty have Engaged

Learn how faculty have engaged with the Design Thinking Initiative and integrated design into their curriculum over the years.

Visit the Project Gallery
Faculty sitting around a table