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MIAD and Marquette design for the future

Senior+engineering+student+Kevin+Vanneman+studies+in+the+engineering+building%2C+which+will+soon+host+a+partnership+with+MIAD+for+industrial+design.
Senior engineering student Kevin Vanneman studies in the engineering building, which will soon host a partnership with MIAD for industrial design.

Senior engineering student Kevin Vanneman studies in the engineering building, which will soon host a partnership with MIAD for industrial design.

Senior engineering student Kevin Vanneman studies in the engineering building, which will soon host a partnership with MIAD for industrial design.

Patrick Thomas

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The College of Engineering and the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design are working together to create a hybrid “industrial design” program capable of arming students with the knowledge to tackle real-world problems.

Engineering students from Marquette build a project using their engineering skills and the MIAD students work creatively to make and design aspects of the project to present it to the general public. The specific curriculum is not yet set, but the program aims to get students to work collaboratively to solve big problems.

John Caruso, an industrial design professor at MIAD, said he sees students from both institutions working together to solve global issues like the spread of disease, mechanical solutions and water conservation and purification. Mark Nagurka, a mechanical engineering professor at Marquette, said he considers the program a win-win.

“We want to have the tools to solve these problems. It might be something that occurs in a new facility separate from Marquette and MIAD,” Caruso said. “This is all in the inception phase, but we have a grand vision of true collaboration between both schools.”

Caruso said the program brings “left-brained students and right-brained students together.” Essentially, this means math students will see the creative side of engineering. Similarly, this will allow art students to work in the technical field.

However, the industrial design program will not happen in the 2015-’16 school year, as the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported in 2013. The new target date is set for 2017-’18.

“A lot was promised, we have to reset the clock, and (we) want to make sure we are getting this right,” Nagurka said. “We had a hiccup, there was some changes in leadership, but we have a vision and will hopefully have a draft out by the end of this month.”

The change in leadership Nagurka was referring to was the retirement of MIAD President Neil Hoffman, along Robert Bishop leaving his post as dean of Marquette’s College of Engineering.

“It was a combination of a leadership vacuum and a timing error,” Caruso said. “We are currently on track and farther than we thought we would be at this point; this is a big endeavor for both schools.”

Nagurka and Caruso both said they hope they can begin to roll out courses for industrial design in 2017. Caruso said by 2020 they hope to be offering a minor in industrial design.

For the past 20 years, Marquette and MIAD have offered graphic design courses for advertising students at Marquette. For the past nine years, Marquette biomedical engineers and MIAD industrial design students have worked together on semester-long senior projects to solve problems.

“This is an exciting opportunity. We want to have the path paved for students wanting to take courses at both schools,” Nagurka said. “The sparkle that’s out there is to create a course that will start next-generation solutions, and hopefully help people.”

$75,000 from the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation and $125,000 from an anonymous donor will fund the first year of curriculum development. MIAD and Marquette will raise another $200,000 in matching funds to support the second year of curriculum development, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

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