2024 Investiture Information

Design Initiative at Dartmouth

The Design Initiative at Dartmouth (DIAD) is building interdepartmental collaborations to bring more design tools and mindsets to all corners of campus.

From new courses and collaborative programs, to interdisciplinary research efforts and off-campus projects, DIAD is developing a system for human-centered design creativity accessible to everyone.

What Is DIAD?

DIAD facilitates collaborative creativity at Dartmouth, using design thinking to bring together technology and the liberal arts, and empowering our community to uncover and address the most challenging problems.

LIBERAL ARTS: Every innovator's toolkit should include key aspects of education and scholarship in the arts, humanities, and social sciences—namely, critical thinking skills, a justice-oriented mindset, and a human-centered approach to problem-solving.

TECHNOLOGY: From engineering to computer science and beyond, DIAD embraces physical, digital, and mixed methods of idea development and implementation to equip graduates with the technical skills and self-efficacy needed to build impactful solutions to complex challenges.

DESIGN THINKING: We believe that a design-based approach to interdisciplinary collaboration helps us to connect "what is the right problem to solve?" with "how can we solve it?"—catalyzing action-oriented learning, scholarship, and impact.

DIAD Venn diagram

How Does It Work?

Design Curriculum

DIAD is creating new interdepartmental design-based courses, and infusing design methods into existing courses across campus. Offerings include:

  • Courses co-taught by engineering and humanities professors
  • Faculty course development grants to create new design curriculum
  • New design track in the graduate MEng program

Extracurricular Learning

DIAD is building new opportunities for students, faculty, and staff to practice design outside the classroom, through a series of workshops, events, and programs. These include:

  • Annual "Design-a-thon" competition
  • "Design Corps" program where students use design thinking to improve life on campus
  • "Design Justice" speaker series

Research & Scholarship

DIAD is catalyzing new interdisciplinary research efforts for students and faculty, by supporting design-based investigations aimed at generating positive social impact. These include:

  • Infusing design methods into research projects
  • New faculty seed grants for design-based research
  • A student independent projects fund

Funding Opportunities

DIAD supports students, faculty, and staff engaging in interdisciplinary, design-based learning, teaching, scholarship, and creative practice.

There are currently three opportunities to receive grant funding from DIAD for a design project:

A student works on a large model for a student independent project grant

Student Independent Project Grants

  • Who is eligible: All Dartmouth students (individuals and teams)
  • Funding for: Any design-based project taken on outside of an existing course
  • Funding amount: Varies based on need


Course Development Grants

Course Development Grants (in partnership with DCAL)

  • Who is eligible: All Dartmouth faculty (individuals and teams)
  • Funding for: The creation of a new design-based curricular module inside an existing course
  • Funding amount: $1,000 stipend, plus up to $1,500 in supplies


Faculty Design Project Grants

Faculty/Staff Design Project Grants

  • Who is eligible: All Dartmouth faculty and staff (individuals and teams)
  • Funding for: Any interdisciplinary, design-based research or creative project
  • Funding amount: Up to $5,000


Location & Spaces

DIAD works all across campus, but our headquarters is in the West End District in the Class of 1982 Engineering and Computer Science Center (ECSC). There we have two dedicated spaces available to all members of our community engaged in design-related activities:

Design Loft: Rm 007, ECSC

Design Loft

Need a space for your design-related event? In this hyper-flexible multipurpose room, everything is on wheels—even the couches!

Any member of the Dartmouth community can reserve it for any design-related event, including workshops, design sprints, working sessions, club meetings, presentations, exhibitions, special class meetings, and more.

The Loft features both bar-height and standard-height tables with dozens of chairs and stools, four moveable couches, and both stationary and mobile whiteboards. It has a standard AV setup with a projector and room speakers, as well as lecture capture and built-in Zoom Room capabilities.

Book the loft

Design Research Lab: Rm 006, ECSC

Design Research Lab

Need space to work on a longer-term design project? Any member of the Dartmouth community can request an assigned workstation for one or more terms.

Equipped with hookups for most kinds of tools (including power, fume exhaust, compressed air, and vacuum suction), the Lab has six individual benches to work on and store prototypes, plus three large communal work tables for extra space and collaboration.

The Lab is locked to the general public and provides a secure location to store equipment and work-in-progress. Individuals with an assigned space receive key card access. (Space requests are reviewed on a term-by-term basis.)

Request lab space

The DIAD Team



Special Advisors

Steering Committee


Have questions or would like to talk about a design-related idea? We’d love to hear from you!

Email us at design.initiative@dartmouth.edu.