Design Thinking, Teaching, & Learning Collaborative

The Design Thinking Teaching and Learning Collaborative is working to reimagine and extend teaching, research, and service using design thinking methods.

Collaborative Goals


Support the integration of design thinking pedagogies that enhance high-impact learning, build lifelong capacities to address wicked problems, and transform oppressive educational practices in order to support liberatory structures.


Engage in collaborative and action-oriented research that seeks to understand the merits and challenges of design thinking practices and translates findings into actionable strategies for personal, professional, and civic endeavors.


Create and sustain a network that equips others to engage in inclusive and equitable design practices that support cross-institutional, place-based engagement in real problems across sectors, including education, government, non-profit, and business.

The Impact

The Study engaged four universities in our region, over 22 faculty, and three hundred students, examining the practices, outcomes, value, and challenges of teaching and learning design thinking in higher education. Initial findings highlight challenges and recommendations, leading us to conclude that a de-disciplined and democratized approach to DT can act as a catalyst for shifting educational practices towards situated, relational, and emergent project-based learning.

The Speaker Series included practical tools, hands-on activities, and theoretical grounding in design thinking. Sessions featuring a range of design thinking scholars and practitioners were offered, including from Elon’s Dr. Elena Kennedy and Dan Reis, Henry McKoy, Jacqui McLaughlin, Lesley Ann-Noel, and many others. Offered virtually, sessions were attended by a diverse group of faculty, students, staff, and community members from across the United States. Plans for 21-22 are currently underway.

The Members include Elon’s Director of Design Thinking Danielle Lake; Assistant Professor of Arts Administration Wen Guo; Liz Chen, Steve Knotek and Jacqui Mclaughlin from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Aria Chernik from Duke University; Henry McCoy from North Carolina Central University; and Tsailu Liu from North Carolina State University.

Meet our Team

{Re}Place: Remaking Places and Spaces Together

The featured speakers and workshops leading up to the convening in June follow the themes of Elon By Design’s framework for design thinking.

Priscilla McCutcheon Event Banner: Black Liberation-Revolution and Reconciliation in our Food System
Priscilla McCutcheon

Black Liberation: Revolution and Reconciliation in our Food System
Friday, March 26 | 2 pm

This talk examines the use of Black liberation theology as a framework to understand how some Black people might find freedom through food and agriculture. In this lecture, Dr. McCutcheon will discuss key connections between Black liberation, food, and agriculture, paying specific attention to the importance of “revolution” and “reconciliation”, including why attention to Black liberation theology is called for in our present moment.

Co-sponsored by the Center for the Study of Religion, Culture, and Society; The CREDE; and African and African American Studies at Elon.