New degree program offers students a ‘perfect intersection’ of fields | Jobs Vox


The University of Miami’s newest graduate degree offering in Innovation, Technology and Design appeals to students interested in engineering, business and hands-on experience.

Quinn McGowan can remember crafting inventions at age 8. One of his favorites was the pulley system he built with his brother to carry cookies to each other’s bedrooms.

A few years later, McGowan came up with the idea for a smart oven that could be controlled by a phone so home cooks could preheat it before they got home.

So last summer, when McGowan received an invitation to participate in a new interdisciplinary major at the University of Miami, he wanted to learn more.

After attending an information session about the Innovation, Technology and Design (ITD) program, McGowan and 21 other incoming students — who were invited based on their credentials and talents — announced their decision to join the latest graduate degree program. decided to. ITD comprises faculty members from subject areas across the University and aims to train students at an accelerated pace for an array of careers as well as jobs that do not yet exist.

McGowan said, “I always come up with business ideas, and I wanted to learn how to make them into viable solutions, but I don’t know how to turn an idea into a real business.” his own business. “This program was the perfect intersection of everything for me.”

While the ITD degree is interdisciplinary, it is housed within the College of Engineering. And students in the program take most of their classes together. First-year student and Neil Daniels said this group enabled students to bond that began during orientation

“I love that the major is small because it creates a tight-knit group, and the fact that we see each other every day builds friendships between all of us,” Daniel said.

But he was also attracted to the program’s emphasis on hands-on learning and skills that could translate into a variety of occupations.

Daniels said, “I’ve been listening and taking notes my entire academic career, so I wanted something different for my college experience.” “Plus, I knew I had the versatility for what I could do professionally with this major.”

Students in the ITD program must complete at least one design challenge each semester, which usually requires creating and presenting a prototype and business plan. ITD majors can earn their degree in just three years, but according to Darrin Urall, associate dean of student affairs and professor of practice in the College of Engineering, they can extend their studies to four years if they want to add study abroad experience Huh.

Students must also complete an internship as part of earning the degree, as the program values ​​experiential learning and is designed to prepare students for the workplace upon graduation.

The novel degree was created by a task force of leading university faculty members, called Academic Innovation Fellows, who met weekly during the past academic year to design the program under the guidance of the Minerva Project, a San Francisco-based educational company. Had met

The ITD program continues to push the envelope on a major change at work in colleges across the country, said Kathi Kern, the university’s vice provost for education innovation.

Kern said, “Traditionally in higher education, you prepare students for the final years of college by piling on courses that give them a background in more problem solving and critical thinking, but this program is organized so that students immediately faced problems. “This program provides them with foundational skills; But at the same time, it gives them the opportunity to do real-world work right from the start, both on campus and off campus, with our industry partners and through their internships. In this way, there is a reference to real-world problems where it is not just theoretical.”

This fall, students took a design challenge class with law professor Michele DeStefano and colleague Marcia Nerin Weldon. They began by conducting a professional work-style survey to understand their style of communication and to help them understand how they collaborate with others, an area in which Weldon, an employment attorney and Len- at the School of Law, Dan specializes as the Director of Skills Programs.

Students then learn the “3-4-5 Method,” a design-thinking approach to narrow problems and targeted solutions developed by DeStefano for legal and business professionals. These lessons helped enhance students’ collaboration skills, hone their ability to use design-thinking strategies, and hone their presentation skills.

“Before this semester, standing in front of a large audience wasn’t something I wanted to do. But now I’m more aware of how I look and stand, as well as how I project my voice.” And it’s been very helpful,” Daniel said. “But I’ve also learned how to interact better in a team setting.”

For this semester’s design challenge, ITD students were asked to identify challenges they have experienced while at university. Then, based on interviews and investigative research, they had to create a solution supported by a business plan. While McGowan’s team outlined improvements for the new student orientation, another team envisioned the use of artificial intelligence to create future menus based on students’ preferences in university dining halls.

Students submit a final project in their ITD programme.
Students present their final Design Challenge projects.

Kern has worked with the faculty members who oversee the ITD program and has been impressed by the student presentations.

“Students guide us through a multidisciplinary set of lenses on a campus problem, and I think that is a wonderful first semester experience,” Kern said.

As part of the program, the first group of ITD students took a Design Lab class with DeStefano and Weldon. But he also took “digital solutions for the future” from electrical and computer engineering lecturer Lokesh Ramamurthy and industrial engineering lecturer Khalid Yahia Zakaria Abdel Rahman. In addition, he also had an “Innovation Design” class with communications lecturer Eddie Gomez and “Global Challenges Addressed by Engineers”, which was co-taught by several engineering professors and is required of all engineering graduates.

Shawn Andrews, who grew up in San Diego, was excited by his first semester of ITD because he was enjoying the creativity the program offered.

“I’ve grown tremendously—and this class taught me time management, as well as how to better communicate my ideas,” she said. “I will definitely take the skills I learned from the classes this fall and try to start my own business.”

Ural serves as the academic lead for the ITD program. Ramamurthy is the assistant program director, and Greg Levy, associate dean for academic affairs and student services at the School of Law, is the program’s experiential learning lead. After viewing the presentations, Ural was thrilled with the students’ progress.

Ural, one of the instructors for the “Global Challenges” course, said, “ITD students were able to engage with all stakeholders to identify challenges they face as UM students and present realistic solutions to the problems they face ” “Now they are ready for industry-related challenges next semester.”

As the coming semester unfolds, students in the ITD program will also have space to work on their design challenges called the Innovation Lab. Located on the ground floor of the MacArthur Engineering Building, the collaborative space will be dedicated to the ITD program, and students will have access to a range of equipment including 3D printers, state-of-the-art laptops and LCD screens.

Students Corinne Cechon and Ronnie Kennedy are both excited for the spring semester.

“I really like how the program is very practical and aims to give us a well-rounded education, because that’s what employers are looking for now,” Seechon said. “Moreover, internships will help give us good opportunities to learn things that we will need in future jobs and throughout life.”

Visit ITD website To know more about the program,


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