The School of Technology and Design at New York City College of Technology is creating a new Center for Performative Design and Engineering Technology that will pioneer performative design education. The project takes as its inspiration the broad focus on laboratory-based learning that brings technological education to a higher level of integration and broader faculty engagement across an entire division. The Center will become the focus of interdisciplinary project-based learning for faculty and students from its nine constituent departments where they will conduct research projects using state-of-the-art technologies in cross-cutting applications that mirror industry practice. The project is producing a laboratory design to support interdisciplinary research by configuring equipment and instrumentation for optimal collaborative use. A faculty team has been creating a web-based tutorial system for asynchronous learning to accompany interdisciplinary applications of cutting-edge technology. The team is also designing a new interdisciplinary capstone course and cross-disciplinary projects for baccalaureate-level students, and most importantly, supporting the college’s Solar Decathlon 2015 project, which is designing and building a high-efficiency solar-powered house that will be on view for the US Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon event in October 2015 in Irvine, California.
This project will provide a model for other institutions with similar programs to emulate. By bringing project-based interdisciplinary team collaborations to the fore, the project will contribute to an on-going paradigm shift in the way engineering design is taught. The project will also broaden participation since New York City College of Technology serves a high percentage of underrepresented minority students and is one of the nation’s top producers of underrepresented minority associate degree graduates in STEM fields.