Teaching “Design as a Catalyst for Change” at Washington University in St. Louis

In “Design as a Catalyst for Change,”—a course designed and taught by social innovator and designer, De Nichols—students learn and practice skills of community-based social impact design. The focus of this course emphasizes how values of empathy, equity, privilege, relationship building, and justice integrate into the communications design process when working with and within communities. As students identify and select a social cause on which to focus, they develop a series of print and digital works that communicate their chosen issue, pitch proposed design interventions, and visualize a collaborative implementation processes. Learning modules feature weekly readings, direct engagement with national social design practitioners, design charrettes, and on-site learning, allowing students to gain greater depth and perspectives for harnessing design as a catalyst for change.