CSUF News Service

Innovation Fellows to Lead Design Thinking Faculty Workshops


Later this month, faculty members will have the opportunity to participate in a problem-solving methodology exercise with CSUF students.

Yumi Liang, Patricia Ho and Chalisa Phiboolsook are this year's Titan University Innovation Fellows, part of a program established to empower students to become agents of change at their schools. It is part of the National Center for Engineering Pathways to Innovation and operated as part of the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford University.

As part of their selection, the trio learned techniques for promoting innovation on campus, including Design Thinking.

How to describe Design Thinking? Liang, a senior international business major, describes it as, "How do you create more effective teams? How do you get your teams to tackle the right problems, what you want them to solve? … This is a means whereby team leaders and educators can increase attendance, participation and collaboration, as well as create a positive outcome, so that the learning experience benefits the educators and the students long term.”

The students were participants at the opening night forum “Predict the Future by Inventing It: Accelerating the Pace of Change in Academia” at the Association of American Colleges and Universities annual meeting in San Francisco last year.

"We were able to interact with faculty from around the world and learned so much that we really were excited to be able to share what we learned," explained Liang, president of the nonprofit Student Innovation Collective, or SINC.

The scholars have been using the same approach with fellow students since last fall, working with four multidisciplinary student teams who conducted research and interviews in an effort to come up with possible solutions to the plight of homelessness. “This spring we will be using different social issues and design thinking to connect students from across campus in working together innovatively.”

Their enthusiasm struck a chord.

“I think these will be very interesting series of sessions and faculty can benefit from hearing the students’ perspective,” said Erica Bowers, director of the Faculty Development Center.

“This is really about student insights on learning,” said Mary Ann Villarreal, associate vice president for strategic initiatives. “These students believe that learning is not static, there is not one way of learning and that the contributions of everyone can make a better product or outcome.”

"Our goal is to have faculty reimagining the teaching experience," said Liang.

The three-part workshop series are offered through the Faculty Development Center, beginning at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 21, and at noon Thursday, Feb. 22, with "Design Thinking Part I: How Google and Stanford Faculty Use This Problem-Solving Methodology and Why You Should Too."

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