Immerse with real community stakeholders.
Community livelihoods in India. Nuclear power in Idaho + Ann Arbor. Carbon Neutrality in Traverse City. Priority Challenges 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 2020
Course meets during the 2nd half of Winter 2020 (March 10 – April 21) Tues/Thurs 10am-12pm
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 2020 (i.e. 355 or 455).
Field Partners* for Fieldwork Immersion Experience:
*Check back as additional field sites may be added
SETCO Foundation, Gujarat, India
The Setco Foundation focuses on healthcare, nutrition, education and empowerment of 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.
Idaho National Laboratory, Idaho Falls, ID
Idaho National Labs 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 research and develop 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.
City of Traverse City Green Team, with SEEDS as local host, Traverse City, MI
The City of Traverse City Commissioners passed a resolution to make sure municipal operations run on 100% renewable electricity and also to become carbon neutral by 2050. A diverse Green Team of stakeholder-advisors to the City Manager was formed to provide guidance and wisdom about how to achieve these complex targets. Students will work with SEEDS, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization established to implement local solutions to global issues at the intersection of ecology, education, and design. With SEEDS as the local host, students will perform stakeholder interviews and begin to research the most important strategies to prioritize based on an understanding of the baseline consumption patterns of electricity, heating fuels, transportation fuels, and industry. Which are the correct metrics to monitor? Equally important, how might Traverse City to encourage neighborhoods and businesses to engage in the design of solutions that create accessible triple bottom line benefits.
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 understand and prioritize local challenges to bettering the livelihoods of community members. Intermediate to advanced proficiency in Spanish is required. (This project is pending alignment with community members in Ecuador)