Design Systems Thinking for Innovation in an Engineering Faculty Development Program

Douglas E. Melton, Heather Dillon, Mark L. Nagurka

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


This is a work in progress paper describes design systems thinking as a paradigm for evolving faculty development. Managing organizational change is a difficult task, often dependent on the way ideas are operationalized for effective innovation. Systems thinking leverages value creation across organizational systems to support innovation based on design. This paper explores the utility of design systems thinking for creating innovation in a national engineering faculty development program. Design systems thinking has been used by Engineering Unleashed as part of a multi-year innovation effort in engineering faculty development. We seek to shift the mindset of traditional engineering faculty development using best practices for relationship building by coaching, mentoring, and through communities of practice. Two outcomes of the systems thinking model from this work include (i) a faculty fellowship program to recognize and reward faculty development of transformational projects and (ii) self-paced learning structures to encourage emergent ideas. This paper addresses the first steps for the following research questions: • Does a design systems thinking approach create a responsive model for a community-driven faculty development program? Does this model adapt to community needs and individual faculty career needs? • Will a design systems thinking approach support the community development of a sustainable model for faculty development that thrives outside of the funding organization? This project is ongoing and this paper reports on the way design systems thinking has been used to create a bottom-up and top-down innovation structure. Preliminary results in this paper include an analysis of growth in the faculty development program, a timeline of expected evolution, and a summary of community engagement structures in place. The poster presentation will focus on the evolution of the faculty development program.

Original languageEnglish
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - 26 Jul 2021
Externally publishedYes
Event2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference, ASEE 2021 - Virtual, Online
Duration: 26 Jul 202129 Jul 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering


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