Engineering student’s design immersion proposal chosen for Vanderbilt’s QEP

An exciting maker-style immersion experience will be open to all Vanderbilt students in fall 2017 thanks to a successful proposal co-authored by mechanical engineering sophomore Will Berger. Lori Troxel, associate professor of the practice of civil and environmental engineering and the proposal team chair, has been named the initiative’s director.

Design as an Immersive Vanderbilt Experience (DIVE) is part of Immersion Vanderbilt, a centerpiece of the university’s Academic Strategic Plan. Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Susan R. Wente recently announced the selection of DIVE as Vanderbilt’s Quality Enhancement Plan.

DIVE was chosen after a yearlong campus-wide consultative process, and topped 44 proposals from students, faculty and staff for new immersion programs.

Will Berger

“DIVE offers students the chance to build confidence in their creative abilities,” said Berger. “Some students don’t necessarily see themselves as creative types, and DIVE aspires to change that. We want to combine a ‘no-wrong-answers’ attitude with an environment where students can become truly playful. Students will have the opportunity to collaborate on projects that can leave a lasting legacy for both Vanderbilt and the greater community.”

Students who participate in DIVE will utilize human-centered design methodology to facilitate problem solving. Small interdisciplinary student teams will research, brainstorm and design tangible solutions to problems facing the Nashville community and the Vanderbilt campus. DIVE projects will engage students in collaborative work, creative thinking, community issues and immersive problem solving. Each team will be guided by a faculty member trained in human-centered design.

Lori Troxel

Campus constituents are creating a comprehensive implementation plan now for DIVE.

“Working on (the DIVE) proposal team was one of the most rewarding and enjoyable experiences I have had at Vanderbilt,” said Troxel. “We all agreed early on that we wanted to create a program that would help the entire campus—students, faculty and staff—gain creative confidence to solve problems in both the Nashville and Vanderbilt communities. Valuing diversity and caring for the community are two needs that we believe will be met through working on diverse interdisciplinary teams.”

DIVE will be assessed for five years as a component of Vanderbilt’s reaffirmation of accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Brenda Ellis, (615) 343-6314
Twitter @VUEngineering