Skip Navigation
A Culture of Care

Read Smith’s plans for the fall 2021 semester.
Current Operating Mode: GREEN

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

In the fall of 2020, the Design Thinking Initiative awarded 9 Curricular Enhancement Grants to faculty across disciplines and departments including; History, Middle East Studies, Mathematics, French Studies, Exercise & Sport Studies, World Literatures, Statistics & Data Sciences, Italian Studies, and Spanish. These Grants supported the integration of hands-on making into remote courses through the creation and dispersal of Prototyping Kits containing materials and tools. Building on the success of the fall, the Design Thinking Initiative again invites faculty and staff from across the college to enhance their spring semester curricula through hands-on making. The exploration of materials, tools, and technologies offers a critical opportunity for students to get off their screens, develop different ways of thinking, and cultivate a sense of agency. We aim to enable students to access making regardless of where they may be physically located this spring.

The goal of this grant is to support projects that meaningfully connect students to course material through hands-on making. These kits provide an opportunity for students to create tangible artifacts as a means for making sense of course concepts and conveying their underlying thought processes to others. One of our goals at the Design Thinking Initiative is to make the theoretical tangible and we are eager to help support your students’ learning through our prototyping kit program. 

To learn more see our Call for Proposals.

Ways to Engage

Meet with Us
Schedule a time to discuss how we can support your course:

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 are 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. Please see the description of CEGs for Spring 2021 above.

Design thinking 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.

MakeKIT: Our tools and materials library
Our tool sign-out system includes a robust “kit” system to check out materials and equipment that are possible to use outside of the studio. Kits include hand tools, multimedia sculpture, drawing, sewing, ideation, watercolor, and jewelry supplies. You can browse our available kits here. All kits are available to on and off-campus students, faculty and staff at no cost.

Classroom Teaching
We unfortunately will not be able to accommodate any in-person courses at Capen Annex this semester. However, there are still many ways we can support learning in a virtual environment!

In-Person Studio Access
Please visit our "In Person Studio Use" for more information on our independent space use policies. All faculty, staff, and students may use equipment at Capen Annex after completing safety training in GREEN operating modes.

Remote Studio Access
Individuals are 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 sends their design file, communicate and iteratively make changes, and help guide fabrication. The final product is finished at the studio and sent to the individual through on or off-campus mail.

Schedule a Remote Tour
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 to show, over zoom, 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. Watch a clip of a studio tour for a landscape studies course here.