The Global Design Solutions Project

Finlandia University

Finlandia University, Hancock, Michigan and Columbia College, Chicago, share a design education philosophy that is linked to the real world. Finlandia University partnered with the Kuopio Academy of Design to adopt the business-based Finnish education model which requires a cross-disciplinary design and business curriculum. Columbia College engages students with as many real life design problems as possible, requiring innovation in their problem-solving approach to design problems.

This grant supports a collaborative program between the two institutions--The Institute for Global Design Education--which will marry the strengths of their design programs. Ultimately, the institute will be a consortium of international design schools and corporations that will identify, consider and solve international design problems.

This grant supports phase one of institute development in which both institutions will integrate the E-Team concept into their curriculum on a permanent basis. In phase one, Finlandia University will develop two new classes in design and entrepreneurship, while Columbia College integrates E-Teams into its existing course structure. Finlandia proposes to offer the Art and Design Project Management and Art and Design Project courses as a continuing project learning structure within the Art and Design Program. The courses will allow student teams to pursue project work in their sophomore and junior spring semesters, leading up to their senior final project. Columbia College will integrate E-Teams into their five studio sequence. The first three studios teach materials and techniques, design paradigms and product semantics, while the fourth and fifth studios facilitate team project work. E-Teams at both schools will pursue solutions to real-world problems offered by corporate partners including, ED Designs, the largest design firm in Finland; Wilson Sporting Goods, Chicago; and Kone from Moline, Illinois