The University of New Mexico is designated as an R1 university, the only one in the state. The designation means that UNM is dedicated to very high levels of research across all disciplines, from undergraduates to Ph.D. students. To accomplish this mission, UNM provides programs and resources to help students discover and succeed in research. Among them is the newly created Certificate in Interdisciplinary Design program.

I-Design Symposium
In February and March, the Certificate in Interdisciplinary Design program will host a symposium to raise awareness about the new certificate for undergraduates, as well as design opportunities and career trajectories for students. The faculty includes Professor Tim Castillo from the School of Architecture and Planning, Professor Mary Tsiongas from the Department of Art, Vanessa Svihla from Organization and Information and Library Sciences, Leah Buechley from Computer Science, and Associate Professor Megan Jacobs from the Honors College.

UNM students and the larger New Mexico community are encouraged to attend the Interdisciplinary Design Symposium from Feb. 26 to March 8. The event is free of charge and open to all.

The symposium includes these events:

Monday, Feb. 26, 2:30-4 p.m.How to Save the World, an interdisciplinary design workshop with Svihla in the Honors College Forum.

Thursday, Feb. 29, 5-6 p.m.Ostracod Rising, a lecture with artist and Stanford University Professor Gail Wight at the UNM Art Museum Clinton Adams Gallery.

Friday, March 1, 5-6 p.m. − a keynote lecture with artist and technologist John-Mark Collins, founder of Electric Playhouse and Wit + Light, in George Pearl Hall in the School of Architecture and Planning.

Friday, March 1, 6-7 p.m. – Designing the Future student exhibit opening reception, in Rainosek Gallery in the School of Architecture and Planning and the Spectra Gallery in the Honors College.

The Certificate of Interdisciplinary Design program
A cohort of faculty from across campus and from various disciplines started the interdisciplinary design certificate for undergraduates. The Certificate in Interdisciplinary Design provides students with an interdisciplinary community of scholars doing research, teaching, and service at the confluence of design thinking, interactive working processes, and community engagement, Jacobs explained.

“The certificate program in Interdisciplinary Design recognizes that design occurs within a range of disciplines and prepares students for an interconnected, interdisciplinary career landscape—one that requires skills that the certificate cultivates, such as collaborative working methods, prototyping, and iterative work processes,” Jacobs said.

The certificate is an opportunity for students to develop problem-solving skills through hands-on projects that employ design thinking practices. The certificate will cultivate community engagement, collaborative working methods, prototyping, and iterative processes to improve and reimagine communities. Students will learn how to use ethical and culturally responsive methods to create works for a range of diverse stakeholders.

“These skills parlay with so many career pursuits,” Jacobs observed. “After conducting a poll of various creative industries in New Mexico​from museums to creative technology venues, such as Meow Wolf and Explora, to technology companies, to arts education venues—we see that these industries are seeking employees with the kinds of skills that the certificate in Interdisciplinary Design fosters.” 

Jacobs urged all undergraduate students, from a range of diverse perspectives and disciplines–ranging from the humanities to the arts, to Architecture and Planning, and Computer Science–to apply. The certificate is open to current undergraduate students enrolled in a degree-granting program at UNM.

Anyone interested should reach out to the certificate in Interdisciplinary Design advisor Athena Gordon,, to learn more about how to get started.

“I'd encourage anyone interested in problem-solving, community engagement, and collaboration to attend the events for the Interdisciplinary Design Symposium at UNM,” Jacobs said. See more details here.