Human-Centered Design: Developing Solutions For Youth Homelessness

This course work is inspired by the Civic Hackathon at

The Social and is a chance to take a deeper dive into advancing solutions to youth homelessness.

Collaborate with students from computer science, engineering, social work, and business in this cross-disciplinary graduate seminar.

Learn and Practice human-centered design – an innovative approach to designing breakthrough solutions to real community issues.

Engage with the issue of youth homelessness through a partenrship with Urban Peak and the youth they serve.

Build Marketable Skills like community research, cross-sector collaboration, proposal pitching, and creative solution design.

Small  Graduate Seminar – Limited Space – Register Early

When, Who, Where

Time: Mondays, 12:00pm-2:50pm

Instructors: Kimberly Bender, Graduate School of Social Work& Matt Rutherford, Computer Science

Location: X-ITE Lab, Margery Reed Hall, #116

Credits: 4 Course Credits

This course is eligible for credit in three departments. Choose the right Course number for you:

COMP-4704 (CRN 5176)
SOWK-4990 (CRN 5172)
BUS-4700 (CRN 3527)

The Course Description

This cross-disciplinary, graduate-level seminar course introduces students to the human-centered design process through hands-on design of solutions to a pressing community challenge – youth homelessness. Co-taught by faculty in the Graduate School of Social Work and the Ritchie School of Engineering and Computer Science, this course offers students exposure to empathizing, iterating, prototyping and pitching solutions that could help make life more hopeful and meaningful for young people experiencing homelessness. Students will gain valuable skills for collaborating across disciplines to learn about the problem of youth homelessness through interviews and discussions with youth experiencing homelessness, interactions with experts and service providers, and in-person observation.  They will utilize this knowledge to take a new look at a complex issue and generate breakthrough ideas in partnership with young people and the organizations who serve them. The iterative process of eliciting feedback, refining ideas, and prototyping solutions will culminate in pitches to a panel of experts.  Teams of students will document their design process and final solutions in detail so that future teams can bring them to fruition.

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