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Photo of glue gun and materials at Maker Faire

The Design Thinking Initiative hosts workshops, lectures, gatherings, collaborative opportunities, and celebrations throughout the year. We’re always playing with new ways to come together through Design, check back here for the latest upcoming events.


Bagshare Training

Wednesday September 18th, 5-8:30 p.m.
Capen Annex, Design Thinking Initiative

Artist Leni Fried started the Bagshare Project in 2007 as a way to divert old feed bags and agricultural waste from the landfill. Since then, the Bagshare Project has grown to support chapters across Western Massachusetts, supplying over 15,000 bags to local communities, businesses, and individuals.

The Design Thinking Initiative is excited to host Leni on Wednesday, September 18th to train the Smith Community in bag making. During this workshop, Leni will lead a comprehensive training on the Bagshare Project's tools, methods, and philosophy. Pizza/salad dinner will be provided from 5:00-5:30, followed by a hands-on making workshop. All participants will walk away with at least one reusable bag, and the skillset to lead future Bagshare workshops. RSVP required. Sign up here!

Two women holding bags that they made

Safety Training

Mondays starting September 9th, 12:30-1 p.m.
Capen Annex, Design Thinking Initiative

Learn how to use our tools and materials safely and responsibly! This training is required to use the downstairs making space independently. Gain 24/7 access to the Capen Annex downstairs prototyping studio! This short, half hour training will include a tour of the studio spaces, and important information on operating our equipment safely.


First Year Experience: Explore the Design Thinking Initiative

September 13th, 20th, OR 27th, 1-4 p.m.
Capen Annex, Design Thinking Initiative

Learn more about the Design Thinking Initiative and the opportunities we offer throughout your time at Smith. Join us for a crash course in design methodology, and walk away with a hand-crafted notebook. Participants will also complete safety training, which grants 24/7 access to the downstairs making space at Capen Annex.


Institutional Change Partners

The Institutional Change Partners Program is an opportunity for small teams of 2–4 staff and/or faculty members to bring a project, animating question, challenge or change initiative to an immersive one-week human-centered design deep-dive in June.

Is there some project, question or idea you’ve had that you think would make an impact in how your unit collaborates or contributes to the college’s mission or strategic plan but haven’t known exactly how to tackle it, where to begin or how to galvanize a team around it? This weeklong professional development opportunity will introduce teams to processes, tools and methodologies for making positive change within home units or across multiple units.

As a cohort, partners will convene for monthly lunch meetings to share progress, successes and challenges. The experience will culminate with an evening of presentations in late March of 2020 where each team will showcase their work. Partners must be able to commit to attending all cohort sessions (to be scheduled) in addition to the June deep-dive (June 3–7 from 9–11 a.m. and 1–4 p.m.), and the final presentations next year.

Please see the application for additional guidelines and principles.

Applications are due to Emily Norton by April 15; applicants will be notified by May 3.

If you have any questions or want to learn more about this opportunity do not hesitate to reach out to Emily via phone (413-585-4729) or email.


Co-Teaching Fellowship

The Co-Teaching Fellowship aims to promote and support cross-disciplinary curricular experimentation through co-teaching. We hope to lower the barriers for entering this type of collaboration by:

  • Facilitating faculty connection with one another based on overlapping teaching time-blocks.
  • Providing each awardee with a modest research grant to support their work.
  • Additional support (staff consultations and Capen Annex space access) as needed.

Guiding Principles

Co-teaching Fellows should model and encourage:

  • A culture of idea improvement
  • New explorations in interdisciplinary practice
  • Working productively across lines of difference
  • Student collaboration
  • Being at one’s own learning edge (as faculty and as students)