Thursday, February 16, 2017

Katie Robertson joins Michigan Design Council board of directors


Katie Robertson, a course and field instructor for the undergraduate elementary education program ELMAC, was selected as one of two educators in Michigan to join the Michigan Design Council board of directors.

The Michigan Design Council is made up of design thought leaders from across Michigan, representing our major industries, academic institutions, and professional organizations. It is considered to be the only inter-business, statewide organization of its kind in the country with the purpose of collaborating with individuals and groups to launch design-centric events and outreach campaigns to grow our state's creative talent base.

The vision of the Michigan Design Council is to establish Michigan as the premier destination for individuals in Industrial Design and related design professions, encourage businesses to locate to Michigan by virtue of its robust industrial design talent base, and to emphasize the need for K-12 education that offers students the opportunity to develop important creative literacy skills.

One initiative meant to raise awareness of the need for more project-based learning and STEAM initiatives in Michigan's schools is the MDC's annual Design Prize competition. K-12 and College/University students from across the state are invited to tackle a singular design challenge linked to Michigan and larger societal issues as actual designers solving an authentic problem. The prize, in addition to the mentoring offered finalist by top designers in Michigan industries, is also meant to support educators' efforts to develop a culture of creativity in their settings and learn in an interdisciplinary manner. The Michigan Design Council believes that students graduating from Michigan institutions need the capacity to enthusiastically embrace challenges they have never encountered before, asking “What can I do to solve this problem?” and live up to their potential as effective problem posers and problem solvers. It also needs schools and communities who are in direct relationship with industry leaders who are working to drive the creative economy forward.

The Michigan Design Council encourages schools to develop students' ability to:

  • Make connections between ideas to create something original.
  • Pose questions and frame challenges, and persisting while solving them.
  • Make their thinking visible to express ideas, convey a feeling, communicate personal meaning, and envision new possibilities.
  • Uncover complexity to determine what lies beneath the surface of an issue or idea in order to understand what is really going on.
  • Carefully observe by gathering data through all senses to better understand external phenomena.
  • Consider viewpoints as a way to understand multiple perspectives about a challenge or idea.
  • Listen with understanding and empathy in order to understand others’ needs.
  • Capture the heart and describe, “How does this move me? What am I feeling?”
  • Be comfortable with ambiguity and understand that there is more than one way to be “right.”

Katie's work as a director will involve educating teachers regarding what it means to think like a designer, the impact of STEAM education on students' learning, and how to effectively engage one's students in the MDC Design Prize experience.

Katrin (Katie) Robertson is Lecturer, Research Associate

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