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Design Thinking Pathway

Design ThinkingToday’s undergraduate core curriculum isn’t the same old “one from Column A, two from Column B” selection that students made back in the day. These days, in addition to selecting classes that fulfill the requirements for their major, SCU students get to choose a Pathway, or cluster of courses with a common theme, that helps them study an area of interest from a number of disciplinary or methodological perspectives.

A popular choice among Bronco engineers is the Design Thinking Pathway, facilitated by Chris Kitts, associate professor of mechanical engineering. As Kitts says, “Design thinking may be applied to a vast range of problems, from designing a new consumer product, to adapting a device for low-cost and local production in the developing world, to solving global issues such as climate change and health care.”

 

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History

Educating for Entrepreneurship

"We're poised for greatness and it's going to be pretty damn exciting around here." - Albert Bruno

Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, Silicon Valley was booming. The School of Engineering had already begun to address the need to teach new skills to the area's working professionals and in 1960, with the installation of a 200 square foot computer, Santa Clara officially entered the computer age. Integral to this exciting atmosphere was an appreciation for opportunity and entrepreneurship.

Under Dean Parden, the School of Engineering met the need to educate for entrepreneurship while preserving the core value of educating ethical engineers capable of engaging with the local community or the world at large. These proved to be valuable skills as technical innovations began to explode.

Kenneth Haughton
Kenneth Haughton.
Photo from the
Archives of SCU.

The School of Engineering didn't simply provide technical expertise, but also addressed the need for strong teamwork, management skills, and ethical leadership. In 1978, the Department of Engineering Management and Leadership was established, emphasizing project management and team leadership while continuing to incorporate courses in technical preparation. Parden became chair of this department in 1982 and Kenneth Haughton took over as dean of the School of Engineering.

Under Haughton, the School continued to help students take advantage of the opportunities abounding in Silicon Valley. In 1984, the Institute of Information Storage Technology was founded, providing instruction in mass data storage. In 1985, a fledgling computer lab called the Design Center opened with the help of a donation from Hewlett-Packard. And in 1986, the Sullivan Engineering Center opened, providing the School with new labs and classrooms.