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Integrating Design Knowledge in Educational Curricula: Reflections From the Development of a Multi-Disciplinary Programme in Product Design

[+] Author Affiliations
Alison McKay, Alan de Pennington

University of Leeds, Leeds, UK

Jacques Giard

Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ

Paper No. DETC2013-13183, pp. V001T04A011; 10 pages
  • ASME 2013 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
  • Volume 1: 15th International Conference on Advanced Vehicle Technologies; 10th International Conference on Design Education; 7th International Conference on Micro- and Nanosystems
  • Portland, Oregon, USA, August 4–7, 2013
  • Conference Sponsors: Design Engineering Division, Computers and Information in Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5584-3
  • Copyright © 2013 by ASME


A challenge for design educators lies in balancing demands from employers for graduates who are “ready for work” on graduation and universities’ academic goals for excellence by creating graduates with knowledge and skills that reflect the cognate basis of the discipline they are studying. In 2001, in response to this challenge, a multi-disciplinary undergraduate programme in Product Design was proposed that combined applied technology and design. Graduates would have knowledge, technical literacy and personal skills, such as creativity and team-working, essential to their future working success. The curriculum would focus on the skills and knowledge needed by design professionals and would be delivered in a learning environment that bridged the academic milieu and professional world. Twelve years on the programme has produced 273 graduates: 97 Masters of Design and 176 Bachelors. In this paper we reflect on experiences in creating a multi-disciplinary programme in Product Design that addresses these different needs. Conclusions are drawn for educators creating multi-disciplinary programmes of study and academic administrators whose engagement is essential in the delivery of programmes that span the disciplinary silos and infrastructures.

Copyright © 2013 by ASME



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