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About MDC

Summary Description

The Miami Design Collaborative, led by the School of Fine Arts, is a multi-disciplinary design initiative at Miami University that brings together students and faculty from throughout campus to develop expertise in design thinking and to implement that knowledge through complex, team-based, problem-solving experiences. Existing design-based experiences and new initiatives have the opportunity to cluster together under one umbrella to position, promote and clarify relationships and opportunities.

From Silos to Integration

The depth and rigor of disciplinary learnings are of critical importance, but many of the creative solutions to our most pressing problems often involve interdisciplinary efforts that require both a knowledge of and ability to communicate with people trained in other disciplines. The evolution of many innovative, leading-edge programs require this type of integration. The Miami Design Collaborative, focused on design thinking, will integrate faculty and students in every academic division into a “networked” curriculum. This initiative transforms the practice of teaching and learning by providing the foundation and context to:
Experience design process and development through complex, team-based, project-solving learning.
Engage with industry and organizations outside of Miami University’s physical boundaries.
Extend traditional disciplines by building theory and practice on disciplinary/multi-disciplinary frontiers.

Promotion and Extension

The Miami Design Collaborative provides an increased opportunity for the “packaging” of existing design projects/courses that are multi-disciplinary, team-based experiences stressing iterative problem-solving. It has been difficult to achieve national and international recognition for this innovative work, even though much of it has been going on for years. Packaging these courses/projects under one umbrella, while allowing them to maintain their unique identities, increases their promotional impact and clarifies opportunities to connect faculty and students, enhance existing projects, and create new experiences.

Unique Features

Multi-disciplinarity: crosses departmental and divisional frontiers across the entire university structure.

Faculty: participating professors will represent every division of a university. Such broad faculty participation is striking and unique.

Experience: driven by design-based projects and hands-on experience in iterative process.

Structure: managed by a Director, the initiative receives strategic leadership from an internal steering team, Deans, and external industry partners.

MDC Student Characteristics

Strong EQ
Political Savvy

Flexibility of approach – can be a leader or follower

Strong verbal communicator
Universal translator

Disciplinary moderator
Boundary spanner
Gives/receives critique

Comfort with ambiguity
Life-long learner
Generates insightful questions

Systems approach
Understanding/use of methodology

Disciplinary Expert
Strong “vertical bar”
Ability to communicate disciplinary theory
Excellence in disciplinary knowledge/skills

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