Liz Chen, an assistant professor in the Department of Health Behavior at Gillings and the Design Thinking Lead at Innovate Carolina, will serve as the first director and faculty lead for CIPG. She is also developing and co-teaching the core course, which will be offered for the first time in the spring 2021 semester.
“The core course will give students the opportunity to build explicit group work skills so they can learn and apply design thinking approaches and methods on transdisciplinary teams,” said Chen. “It will also incorporate a lot of internal reflection so students can think critically about the role of design thinking and their role as design thinkers, while contributing to their own fields.”
The ability to develop creative problem-solving skills was one of the reasons public health master’s student Emily Skywark says that she came to Carolina. Having experienced the relevance of design thinking in her own field, she’s now working with Chen to co-design the core course, which she believes will be beneficial to a wide range of students.
“I am excited for the potential of this new certificate to bring creative graduate students together from across the University to innovate and co-create solutions to social problems outside of the confines of traditional disciplines,” she said. “This certificate, and the new design thinking course within it, is a great fit for any graduate student who appreciates being challenged to solve complex problems and working through multiple lenses to innovate revolutionary user-centered solutions.”
The certificate is already generating broad enthusiasm, and students interested can begin enrolling this fall. For those graduate students who are interested in receiving updates about the certificate, Chen and Carrier ask those graduate students to indicate their interest by filling out this short interest form before the application launches in August. Because the inaugural certificate class will be kept to 40 students or fewer, those interested are encouraged to fill out the interest form and to apply early.
In addition to the three sponsoring academic units, other schools offering courses as part of the certificate include the Hussman School of Journalism and Media, Kenan-Flagler Business School, School of Government, School of Information and Library Science, and School of Social Work.