Monday Minute, July 6, 2009

Dear Colleagues,

In the presentation I made just before the July 4 holiday, I mentioned that we have opportunities in the midst of our budget woes, although I didn't go into much detail. Let me give you one example.

Tim Larsen, president of the design and interactive firm, Larsen, and a member of the college advisory board, has proposed funding a series of events -- lectures, conversations, mash-ups -- that will look at the value of design thinking in helping address some of the major challenges facing the world. At a meeting we had last week at Larsen's offices, we talked with him and some of his staff about an initial series of talks, panels, and workshops, involving designers and other decision-makers that would focus on the economy, the environment, and health -- three areas that seem to be on almost everyone's mind and that also connect to the work of a number of our faculty.

Our conversation with Larsen has just begun, and as it evolves, we will want your input as to possible speakers and ways of focusing each session. But I wanted to mention it here as one instance of many in which we continue to attract new funding and to find new interest in the work we do in this college. It sometimes feels like one of the those dance moves Michael Jackson could do so well (and that we have seen ad nauseum in the news recently), in which we appear to be walking backward even as we move ahead. We're making progress even if it doesn't always look that way.