UT School of Design and Creative Technologies Launches Executive and Extended Education Program Taught by Designers and Learning Scientists


November 28, 2018
SDCT Extended and Executive Education

Designed and Taught Using Proven Learning Science, New Unit Works with UT’s Office of the Vice President for Research and Fortune 500 Companies AT&T, Charles Schwab, Southwest Airlines To Become Design-Led and Sustain Long-Term Innovation

The College of Fine Arts at The University of Texas at Austin recently launched its first executive and extended education program through the School of Design and Creative Technologies. Its headlining course, “Think Before You Design Think,” leads organizations through the process of discovery, problem solving and the adoption of human-centered design. Additionally, bespoke courses and services are available to companies, teams and individuals through the Extended and Executive Education unit.

Directed by science of learning expert and Assistant Professor of Practice Dr. Julie Schell and design leader and Assistant Dean Doreen Lorenzo, the Executive and Extended Education unit develops transformative learning experiences for teams and individuals. Unlike more traditional boot camps and workshops, the emphasis on learning and adoption is central to the curriculum. Teams and individuals gain the skills and knowledge to execute human-centered design methodologies and adopt design thinking to create change across large, complex organizations.

"What we do differently is use state-of-the art learning science and innovation theory to ensure that human-centered design is learned and adopted within organizations that want to become design-led and design-centered,” said Schell, Executive Director of the new unit at the School of Design and Creative Technologies. “There are plenty of design thinking experiences that focus on exposure to what design thinking is, but that is not what we do. We cultivate a unique learning experience that allows teams to learn, adopt, lead and innovate by integrating the super power of human-centered design into their daily work lives.”

AT&T, Charles Schwab, Southwest Airlines and UT’s Office of the Vice President for Research have been among the initial group of diverse clients to participate in the Executive and Education program. The “Think Before You Design Think” course is tailored for each cohort of learners.

  • Creative leaders from Charles Schwab learned how to apply human-centered design to support their ongoing mission of being customer-focused.
  • Southwest Airlines engaged in a custom-created Innovation Academy to support the development and execution of human-centered design practices throughout the organization on a daily basis.
  • The Office of the Vice President for Research at the University of Texas pursued a program in which design thinking was used to help faculty develop highly innovative, collaborative and interdisciplinary research proposals.

“As a Fortune 100 company, innovation is key to our success. Participating in Dr. Schell’s design thinking experience and learning how to make lasting, company-wide changes has been of the utmost importance to our organization,” said Andrea Sutton, Vice President of Design Technology at AT&T. “We are scaling the modules that she and Assistant Dean Lorenzo have created for us to tens of thousands of employees at AT&T in an effort to drive successful and innovative company outcomes.”

Additionally, other design courses, innovation design consultancy services, and customer programs are available to organizations, teams and individuals through the Executive and Extended Education unit.


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