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 blends design thinking, engineering, and the liberal arts in the service of both education and research. Our approach is driven by technical and creative skills infused with critical thinking and social awareness.

ENGINEERING: We believe an engineer's tool kit should include the critical thinking skills to know how to ask the right questions, increasing depth of understanding and leading to better solutions for the most vexing problems.

LIBERAL ARTS: We believe education in the liberal arts should include the technical skills and self-efficacy to build what the world needs built.

DESIGN THINKING: Harnessing Dartmouth's strengths in both engineering and the liberal arts, design thinking connects "what is the right problem to solve?" with "how can we solve it?" Design thinking is the connective tissue between engineering skills and liberal arts insight.

The DIAD Triad

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:

Student Independent Project Grants

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


The DIAD Team



Special Advisors

Steering Committee