Elon by Design partners with Duke, UNC, N.C. State and N.C. Central to catalyze a regional Design Thinking, Teaching, and Learning Collaborative

The collaborative, which includes faculty from universities across North Carolina, is working to reimagine and extend teaching, research, and service using design thinking methods.

In 2021, faculty and students across the state came together with one goal in mind; to integrate design thinking pedagogies that will enhance teaching, research, and service on a university level.

The Design Thinking, Teaching, and Learning Collaborative was created to support the individual and collective work of its members, with an emphasis on synergy and support.

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.

Two University of North Carolina graduate students, Emily Skywark and Melissa Lobosco, are also participating in the collaborative.

The collaborative recently submitted a proposal to the International Social Research Conference (ISERC), and plans to continue to share their research findings to enhance their individual storytelling and personal engagements.

“We want to launch whatever projects we’re working on in a more creative and collaborative way,” said Lake, a team lead on the collaborative. “We really see this as an opportunity to support each other and build relationships.”

The placemaking work accomplished by the collaborative will be the focus of Elon’s upcoming Design Forge, a three-day event set to take place in June. A meeting will be held on Thursday, Feb. 4, to continue planning for the Forge.

The collaborative is also featuring a series of speakers leading up to the Forge, where each will discuss using design thinking methods to address real world issues.

McCoy began the series on Monday, Jan. 25, by leading a discussion on using design perspectives, goals, and actions to reach a more racially just world.

Dr. McCoy discusses racial equity using design thinking methods.

“Design thinking really works with placemaking because it takes people, especially people that have an intentionality behind their work and their thought process, and it puts them in these inclusive and equitable places,” said McCoy in his presentation.

Anthony Weston and Jacqui Laughlin are leading the next discussions. Weston will highlight the vision and challenges of creating the Common Ground Ecovillage. Laughlin will review various ways in which design thinking has been applied through healthcare. Registration for future discussions can be accessed here.