Agents of Empathy: Reinventing the University from the Inside
talk – 20 min | Feb 2 – 16.30
Building on the learnings from their careers at global design and innovation company IDEO, Rachel Switzky and Michelle Kwasny both left their respective innovation consulting careers last year to take positions at large, Midwestern Tier 1 Research universities.
During this presentation, they will share their experiences of experimentation from within higher education, applying a human-centered design approach to create a new type of university: one where student input is paramount and faculty and staff are inspired by opportunities rather than restrained by challenges. Key questions we will discuss:
- How might we ensure our student voices cut through challenging bureaucracies in complex university systems?
- How might we cultivate learning environments that foster collaboration and put the student at the center of the academic mission?
- How might we create spaces and places for the magic of cross-pollinating ideas while also building on the research depth and expertise inside a large public university?
About the speakers
Siebel Center for Design, United States
Rachel Switzky is the inaugural director of the Siebel Center for Design. Prior to her current appointment, she has been a global design leader working with Fortune 100 companies over the past 20 years. Most recently, she served as an Executive Director at IDEO, the company who pioneered the concept of design thinking. For the last decade in this role, she helped teams imagine futures and then put them into action, focusing on digital design, emergent technologies and impact at-scale.Rachel attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, receiving her BFA and MFA in Industrial Design from the College of Fine and Applied Arts.
University of Wisconsin-Madison, United States
Michelle Kwasny is the Director of the Masters of Science in Design + Innovation and a Design Researcher & Strategist in the Chancellor’s Office at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. With a background in behavioral psychology, human-computer interaction, and user experience, Michelle is passionate about bringing human-centered design to some of the toughest challenges we face today—those in our cities and schools. Prior to her appointment at the UW, Michelle spent 8 years at IDEO leading service design work in the public sector and higher education.