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A Culture of Care >> Read Smith’s plans for the fall 2021 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

It is a core part of our mission at the Design Thinking Initiative to integrate design and making as ways of thinking into the curriculum and to promote cross-disciplinary experimentation. In this spirit we invite faculty and staff-who-teach from across the college to enhance their curricula through design methodologies and/or hands-on projects. We believe that the exploration of materials, tools, and technologies is a critical form of experiential learning as it cultivates a different way of connecting with course concepts and helps develop a sense of self-efficacy in our students. We are interested in how making can weave seemingly disparate disciplines together to reveal new ways of engaging with the world. We invite all faculty and staff-who-teach to apply for a Curricular Enhancement Grant to help students make the theoretical tangible by engaging with these capabilities.

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: Calendly link to meet with Kathy and Emily 

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.

Our tools and materials library
Our tool sign-out system allows Smith community members to borrow books, crafting supplies, sewing machines, drills, and many more for a class, project, or co-curricular activity. Our goal is to help making be more accessible, and reduce the need to buy new tools when we are happy to lend out ours. You can also browse our recycled material collection through this video so that you can check out and keep these materials for your use. 

Classroom Teaching
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, white boards, sticky notes, markers, and access to many making supplies) should reach out to capenannex@smith.edu to inquire about reserving CA101 for your class. The room functions best at a max of 16 students but can squeeze 20 (not that comfortably).

In-Person Studio Access
Please visit our "Studio & Hours" page for more information on our 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, communicates and iteratively makes changes, and helps guide fabrication. The final product is finished at the studio and sent to the individual through curbside pick-up, on or off-campus mail.

Schedule a Tour
An introduction to the lasercutter, vinyl cutter, 3D printer, or safety training can help show students the possibilities for making available to them at DTI. The introduction will include ways that students can work individually to use the equipment. Schedule your tour with this link..