Experience Learnings from Stanford's Life Design Studio, Wed. Aug. 15

Erica Estes, left, KayLee Simmons, Bill Burnett, executive director of Stanford's design program at the d.school, and Deb Korth.
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Erica Estes, left, KayLee Simmons, Bill Burnett, executive director of Stanford's design program at the d.school, and Deb Korth.

A  trio of U of A faculty and staff recently spent a week at Stanford's Life Design Studio in Palo Alto, California, learning and practicing the fundamentals of design thinking methods as applied to life and career planning. 

Erica Estes, director of employer relations for the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences; KayLee Simmons, director of career education in the university Career Development Center; and Deb Korth, director of student success for Fulbright College, were awarded a scholarship by Stanford's d.school to participate in the Life Design Studio along with 21 other higher education institutions from around the world.

Estes, Simmons, and Korth will be hosting an interactive session at 2:30 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 15, in Gearhart 104 for faculty and staff who are interested in learning more about the Design Your Life program and the life design framework.

A TED Talk by Bill Burnett, executive director of Stanford's design program at the d.School, will also be shown, and participants will experience one of the interactive activities used in his classes. 

According to the d.school, its lab applies design thinking to tackle "the 'wicked' problems of life and vocational wayfinding. Design thinking is a human-centered approach to problem solving and innovation through prototype iteration. Design takes a highly collaborative and hands-on approach to conceiving a new solution and expects [participants] to learn by doing and through feedback iterating real ideas in the real world."

Currently Stanford University offers its Design Your Life program to three student populations: first- and second-year undergraduates, third- and fourth-year undergraduates, and graduate students.

The design thinking framework (empathize, define, ideate, prototype, and test) allows participating students to approach their life plans in a similar fashion to that of a designer creating a new product. During the week of Life Design Studio, the U of A team experienced high-impact activities that were based on the designer mindsets of reframing, curiosity, bias toward action, mindfulness of process, and radical collaboration. 

"The University of Arkansas is ripe to bring Life Design to the campus community," Estes said. "The concept aligns nicely with the university's guiding priority of advancing student success and the newly updated mission statement of 'utilizing research, discovery, and creative activity to improve the quality of life, develop solutions to the challenges we face, and drive the state's economy.'"

For more information about the interactive session, please email ericae@uark.edu.



Erica Estes, director of employer relations
J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences
479-575-3514, ericae@uark.edu


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