Practice design.
Immerse with real community stakeholders.

Electronic waste recycling in Michigan. Resilience hubs in Ann Arbor. Community livelihoods in India. Nuclear power in Idaho. Transportation in Detroit. Water in rural Ecuador.

Earn up to 6 credits this winter term as you prepare for a 6-8 week field experience in the spring/summer.

In this experiential course, students learn the skills of socially engaged design during the winter semester, engage in hands-on practice with their teams, and then spend 6-8 weeks during the spring/summer immersed in a field site working with a community partner to identify potential design opportunities.

How does it work?

ENGR X55: Finding Genuine Design Opportunities, Winter 2019
Up to 6 credits, FRIDAY 1-4, 3360 GG Brown

Students will work with community partners to identify and refine needs, define opportunities, and prioritize needs to work on. They also may identify and document existing solutions and available community-based assets, generate user requirements and specifications related to community needs, and begin to generate initial concepts. The final deliverables for the course are a fieldwork plan presented at winter 2019 Design Expo and customized report for the partner organization that identifies priority design opportunities in their work. 

Students enroll in the ENGR X55 course that matches their academic level in Winter 2019 (i.e. 355 or 455).

Field Partners for Fieldwork Immersion Experience:

SETCO Foundation, Gujarat, India
The Setco Foundation focuses on healthcare, nutrition, education and empowerment of the underprivileged women and children in the Panchmahal district of Gujarat, India. Students will work with Setco Foundation to broadly identify the highest priority challenges facing women and children in a rural village in Gujarat in order to inform the strategy and direction of the foundation’s future work in the district.

Nido de Vida, La Bolivarense, Ecuador
Through a partnership with Nido de Vida, a family-run educational and agricultural association in rural Ecuador, students will work to map out the water sources in the area and identify challenges, barriers, and health risks around these sources for this farming community. The resulting research will help Nido de Vida and the community of La Bolivarense increase their understanding of what sources exist, how they are being used, what might threaten health of the community and to offer possible paths forward to address water challenges. Students will also be developing user requirements for water storage solutions for local families. Intermediate to advanced proficiency in Spanish is required.

City of Ann Arbor Office of Sustainability and Innovations
Resilience Hubs are community-serving facilities designed to support residents and coordinate resource distribution and services before, during, or after a natural hazard event. Students will with with the City of Ann Arbor to understand resident’s needs, perceptions, and priorities around natural disaster preparedness and response in order to inform the design and implementation of resilience hub facilities in Ann Arbor neighborhoods.

Idaho National Laboratory / Center for Modern Nuclear, Idaho
Idaho National Laboratory is hosting the construction of several first-of-a-kind advanced nuclear reactors. These new technologies are scalable for use in many new applications, including: powering remote locations, emergency response efforts, and supporting the electrification of transportation. Advanced reactors could be pivotal tools in the fight against climate change, however their potential adoption hinges on the success of community engagement efforts. Students working on this project will develop and implement strategies to engage with local leaders and decision-makers in the communities surrounding Idaho National Laboratory, and determine how these strategies could be adopted in other communities as advanced nuclear technologies are deployed in the US and globally in the coming years.