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New First-Year Design Course, Space Debut

Program part of new initiative designed to give all Duke Engineering students project- and problem-based experiences right from the start

Duke Engineering is debuting a new hands-on design course for first-year students as well as a 5,000-square-foot dedicated design lab this academic year.

Led by nationally recognized engineering educator Ann Saterbak and assistant professor of the practice Sophia Santillan, the first-year design course brings students together in teams to create solutions to real-world design challenges provided by community partners.

The new course, piloting with 50 students this fall and soon to be part of each Duke Engineering student’s experience, builds on existing first-year hands-on design opportunities at Pratt including the Engineering Innovation course in mechanical engineering and the Engineering the Planet class in civil engineering.

The class is among a trio of new courses piloting in 2017-18 that will give all Duke Engineering students early experience in data science, computing and engineering design.


READ AN INTERVIEW WITH ANN SATERBAK about redesigning the first-year experience

Duke Engineering Design Pod Opening Fall 2017 

A new 5,000-square-foot Design and Learning Lab for Pratt’s new first-year hands-on engineering design course opens this fall in The Jinny and Ed Pratt Commons, the ground-level oval space at the Levine Science Research Center (LSRC). Known as the Duke Engineering Design Pod, the new space will include workbenches, tools and rapid prototyping machines that the teams will use to construct physical prototypes and/or digital artifacts as they engage in the engineering design process

Renderings of the new floor plan and workspace   Rendering of the new workspace

Renderings of new floor plan and workspace are shown above. The Phase One primary seating and workspace area is opening at the start of the Fall 2017 semester, with Phase Two (kitchen area renovation) opening soon afterward. An in-progress view of the space is below.

Interior of the Design Pod