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A Culture of Care

Read Smith’s UPDATED plans as of August 5, 2020,
for an entirely remote fall 2020 semester.

For Faculty & Staff

Photo of Capen Annex

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 and Institutional Capacity Building

Call for Proposals

The Design Thinking Initiative invites faculty from across the college to enhance their curricula through hands-on making. We believe that the exploration of materials, tools, and technologies develops a critical form of haptic learning and agency in our students. As courses shift into multimodal delivery, we don’t want to lose the opportunity for this kind of learning to be integrated into the curriculum and we seek to continue to enable students to access making regardless of where they are physically located in the fall.

One solution to the challenges we face in enabling equitable access to materials and resources for making is to create Prototyping Kits to disseminate to students. These Prototyping Kits can be provided for a single assignment, a series of assignments, or for use throughout the semester. We are eager to support faculty in thinking through how a Prototyping Kit might support their curriculum, what kinds of supplies might be best, and how to support students’ safe use of materials at home. As a center, we are committed to considering the full lifecycle of the products and materials we use and will work to make these Prototyping Kits as sustainably as possible. Please sign-up for a consultation with Emily Norton and Laura Lilienkamp here. Prototyping Kits will be ordered, assembled, sanitized, and shipped by DTI staff. For students who will be on campus we will provide a clear pick-up procedure that complies with all health and safety protocols. We will only be supporting courses whose departmental budgets or fees do not cover studio or lab costs and might already be considering the provision of studio or lab kits. We are able to provide grants that cover kits costing up to $75 per student. Any unspent funds will be retained by Design Thinking in order to support further curricular enhancement opportunities.

What are the expectations and requirements of the grant?

Recipients of the grant will need to provide a description of the assignment, project, or curriculum you’re looking to support along with a detailed supplies list and budget. Each application should also be accompanied by a signed ‘Letter of Need’ from your Department Head confirming your department is not otherwise able to cover costs like these. Once course lists are known, you will need to supply Design Thinking with the names and addresses of all students. We understand shipping is challenging to anticipate but please take shipping costs into consideration in budgets unless your department can otherwise support shipping. Recipients will be asked to contribute visual and written documentation of the specific assignment, projects, and/or ways the Prototyping Kits were used throughout the course to be featured in Design Thinking materials. Additionally, we’d like to collect qualitative feedback on the impact of these Kits on your students' experience within the course. We will share a few quick questions to either incorporate into your class evaluations or to be administered separately.

How do I apply?

Please provide your written description along with a detailed budget request and (once available) your course list with students’ shipping addresses via email to capenannex@smith.edu.

Dates to be aware of:

August 18 - Applications will be accepted and awarded on a rolling basis until midnight on this date or until funds are depleted

August 27 - Class list of students’ names and shipping addresses due by 5 pm

As a result of this timeline and the variability in shipping times, Prototyping Kits will not be available as early as the first week of classes, but hopefully by the second or third week. We look forward to reviewing your application! Again, we welcome the opportunity to discuss how a Prototyping Kit might best fit your curriculum, by scheduling a meeting to discuss here.


Ways to Engage

Meet with Us
Schedule a time to discuss how we can support your course: https://calendly.com/dtitechnology/faculty-collab

Curricular Enhancement Grants
One solution to the challenges we face in enabling equitable access to materials and resources for making is to create Prototyping Kits to disseminate to students. These Prototyping Kits can be provided for a single assignment, a series of assignments, or for use throughout the semester. We are eager to support faculty in thinking through how a Prototyping Kit might support their curriculum, what kinds of supplies might be best, and how to support students’ safe use of materials at home. As a center, we are committed to considering the full lifecycle of the products and materials we use and will work to make these Prototyping Kits as sustainably as possible. Please see the CEG call for proposals above for details.

Remote design thinking workshops and methodology
Human centered design is a methodology with applications across disciplines. We have had success using MURAL to facilitate ideation, as well as adaptations to the Innovator’s Compass to guide the design process. We are eager and available to discuss how design processes and/or methodologies might support your curriculum. We have also been learning best practices for facilitating experiments and exercises at home and would be happy to discuss safety considerations for remote making.

Remote Introduction to our space and equipment
A remote introduction to the lasercutter, vinyl cutter, 3D printer, or safety training can help show students the possibilities for remote making available to them at DTI. In a remote introduction, Laura will be physically present in the studio, using a webcam and Zoom or a series of videos to show different methods of fabrication in the studio. The introduction will include ways that students can work individually to use the equipment and studio space remotely or in-person.*

*This is subject to change based on broader operational planning.

Remote studio use and individual making support
Individuals will be able to send files and participate in the fabrication of their design through a remote/in-person partnership between the student and a member of our staff present at the Design Thinking Initiative. The student will send their design file, communicate and iteratively make changes, and help guide fabrication. Remote making will mimic the in-person experience as closely as possible, with the ability for students to sign up for an appointment to watch the equipment in action making their design, and using remote login as a way for students to directly manipulate the machines used for making. The final product can be finished at the studio and sent to the individual through on or off-campus mail.

Tools, supplies, and materials for making
We plan to expand our tool sign-out system to include a robust “kit” system that incorporates materials and equipment that are possible to use outside of the studio. Crafting supplies, including scissors, pens, pencils, paper, fabric, glue, and jewelry supplies will be available as units that students can check out. We will plan on using a curbside pickup model for pick-up and drop-off. Tools and materials will be sanitized before and after pickup or left untouched for three days to sanitize porous materials (ex. paper). We will provide an equivalent experience to ship tools and materials to off campus students. All kits will be accompanied by some form of safe use guidelines.

Remote Introduction to our space and equipment
A remote introduction to the lasercutter, vinyl cutter, 3D printer, or safety training can help show students the possibilities for remote making available to them at DTI. In a remote introduction, Laura will be physically present in the studio, using a webcam and Zoom or a series of videos to show different methods of fabrication in the studio. The introduction will include ways that students can work individually to use the equipment and studio space remotely or in-person.*

*This is subject to change based on broader operational planning.

Remote studio use and individual making support
Individuals will be able to send files and participate in the fabrication of their design through a remote/in-person partnership between the student and a member of our staff present at the Design Thinking Initiative. The student will send their design file, communicate and iteratively make changes, and help guide fabrication. Remote making will mimic the in-person experience as closely as possible, with the ability for students to sign up for an appointment to watch the equipment in action making their design, and using remote login as a way for students to directly manipulate the machines used for making. The final product can be finished at the studio and sent to the individual through on or off-campus mail.

Tools, supplies, and materials for making
We plan to expand our tool sign-out system to include a robust “kit” system that incorporates materials and equipment that are possible to use outside of the studio. Crafting supplies, including scissors, pens, pencils, paper, fabric, glue, and jewelry supplies will be available as units that students can check out. We will plan on using a curbside pickup model for pick-up and drop-off. Tools and materials will be sanitized before and after pickup or left untouched for three days to sanitize porous materials (ex. paper). We will provide an equivalent experience to ship tools and materials to off campus students. All kits will be accompanied by some form of safe use guidelines.