Overhaul the curriculum, not just a course: a new paradigm for design technology curriculum
Architecture firm: Faculty of the University of Tennessee School of Architecture
Owner: University of Tennessee School of Architecture
Category: Development of Design or Design-Thinking
Faculty at the University of Tennessee felt that the students’ design work rarely reflected understanding of concepts from their many other technology courses. In a radical move, the faculty overhauled the entire B.Arch. technology curriculum, its sequence of courses and content. The faculty eliminated six stand-alone structures, technology, environmental, and materials courses, totaling 22 credit hours. These were replaced with a series of nine two-credit-hour half semester design/technology courses. Each of the half semester course generally aligned with the studio sequence and each containing a blended content related to climate, site, enclosure, materials, structures, building systems, design, and performance. The faculty had the following goals in mind:
- Interrelate technology course content and design studio goals where possible.
- Eliminate stand-alone silos of technological content for single courses, taught by content “experts.”
- Utilize diverse faculty expertise in multiple points across the curriculum in collaborative ways.
- Invent new pedagogical formats and teaching platforms.
- Respect the diversity of experimentation in the design studios.
- Leverage and expand the digital agenda of the school.
The curriculum of the University of Tennessee represents a new paradigm for overlapping design and technology course approaches. Our experience may be relevant to other programs.
"This is a complete overhaul of a university curriculum that achieved buy in from the entire faculty, created partnerships between classes, and offered multiple perspectives in classes." ~ Jury statement