Interdisciplinary Programs in Design and Innovation

Jan 19, 2011 by jroot    No Comments    Posted under: All Profiles, Programs and Labs

Eben Bayer ’07 and Gavin McIntyre ’07 PDI project is an example of Better World Engineering

At Rensselaer, we provide opportunities for students to engage in programs with a social conscience including sustainable engineering, renewable energy, and energy efficient lighting and transportation.Our Interdisciplinary Programs in Design and Innovation (PDI) allow students to advance Better World Engineering by combining the B.S. degree in Design, Innovation, and Society with other  minors or bachelor’s degree curricula. We formerly referred to these interdisciplinary programs as “product design and innovation,” but our approach to design and innovation has become increasingly broad. As a result, we now refer to these interdisciplinary programs in design and innovation as PDI.The core of PDI–what distinguishes our program as interdisciplinary design rather than just engineering design or industrial design–is our interdisciplinary studio sequence.  With a broader scope than typical industrial design or engineering programs, we seek to “bridge” these disciplines to create new products, services, and media in the context of social needs and environmental concerns. The interdisciplinary design studios provide a forum to integrate skills to solve long term and emerging problems of society. A typical studio project finds members of student teams researching different aspects of problem and then contributing their knowledge and creativity towards synthesizing a team solution. Studio projects address issues ranging from larger systemic problems to smaller focused problems, so that students have a broad exposure to the broad spectrum of design practice. The studios develop students’ skills in using computers and digital modeling techniques, as well as in drawing, visualizing, communicating, and working together.  In short,  all that is necessary to put their creativity to work as leaders of design and innovation, whether it be in a multinational corporation seeking ways of addressing diverse markets, or in a practice that creates innovative solutions to local community problems.See PDI Better World Engineering Projects