International Collaborations Thrive at St. John’s University’s Design Factory

February 5, 2021

The Lesley H. and William L. Collins College of Professional Studies (CCPS) organized several virtual exchange or international collaboration initiatives during the Fall 2020 semester.

In October, several Collins College faculty members participated in International Design Factory Week, an annual event in which all members of the Design Factory Global Network meet to exchange best practices and begin collaboration projects. The Design Factory, hosted at the University’s Farella Innovation Lab, coordinated the virtual activities for the part of the program taking place in the United States in collaboration with other design factories in North America.

“While virtual interaction can never fully replace the complex and rich learning experience that occurs when students and faculty can physically travel to and immerse themselves in another culture, it still provides a valuable learning experience,” said Luca Iandoli, Ph.D., Associate Dean for Global and Online Programs and St. John’s Design Factory Coordinator. “Students learn from and collaborate with international peers while honing critical skills to support remote teamwork enabled by online technologies.”

Dr. Iandoli, along with Kevin T. James, Assistant Dean and Director of Fiscal and Administrative Affairs, and Max  A. Hergenrother, Director of Technology Operations, were members of the organizing committee. CCPS faculty led or attended professional development workshops in areas of design thinking, digital prototyping, and innovation.

Geoffrey N. Dick, Ph.D., Visiting Associate Professor, Division of Computer Science, Mathematics, and Science, and William L. Murphy, Esq., Assistant Professor, Division of Criminal Justice, Legal Studies, and Homeland Security, were part of an international panel discussing “The Hardship of Digital Learning.” Dr. Iandoli presented his work on the connection between art making and perception and design thinking.

Several collaborations were discussed with other design factories around the world. One result is the addition of a design thinking class in the St. John’s University Honors Program. The class, “Creativity, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship,” which will include several activities in collaboration with Pace University Design Factory and Jefferson University Design Factory, will begin in fall 2021.