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Stephanie Tharp Receives 2019 Provost’s Teaching Innovation Prize


Five faculty projects from across the University of Michigan campus have been honored with the 11th annual Provost’s Teaching Innovation Prize for their innovative approaches to improving student learning, including Stamps professor Stephanie Tharp and her co-instructor Eric Svaan (Ross School of Business) for their work on the Winter 2019 VentureWell Hacking Health Design Charrette and the Integrative Project Development course (IPD). This annual recognition is sponsored by the Office of the Provost, the Center for Research on Learning and Teaching, and the University Library.

U‑M’s Integrated Product Development (IPD) course is a six-credit class is led by faculty from the Stamps School of Arts & Design and the Ross School of Business. In the course, instructors Tharp and Svaan build interdisciplinary teams of students from Art & Design, Business, Engineering, and Information to develop products addressing problems faced by a specific demographic of potential users. This semester’s challenge: design a user-centric product that uses active technology to help preadolescent children (ages 9 – 12) form healthy habits.

The course began with the VentureWell Hacking Health Design Charrette in January 2019. Facilitated by Stamps Masters in Integrative Design students, IPD students were able to get a strong understanding of their users’ needs and motivations through guided concept exploration with children and healthcare experts working in child psychology, public health, medicine, counseling, and other related fields.

The VentureWell Hacking Health Design Charette was the second hosted by Stamps and the first to be incorporated into the IPD course. Tharp says the results were noticeable.

A lot of the teams were able to generate really good insights that have carried into the work, because if you don’t generate those deep insights, it’s kind of transparent,” she says. People can see when you don’t really understand a user or demographic very well.”

The course culminates with the IPD Trade Show, where the teams provide demonstrations of their product prototypes and attendees can vote” for their favorites by indicating how much money they would spend on each from a starting budget” of $150.

In addition, this year the Sarah S. Murphy Prize, a special juried prize of $5,000, was also awarded to the group which a panel of judges determined best met the assigned criteria, brought something new to the field, and had the best chance of commercialization.

The university community is invited to meet the recipients at a poster fair and breakfast that is part of the annual Enriching Scholarship Conference on May 6 at 9 am in the Michigan League Ballroom. The awards will be presented during the keynote event at 10 am.

Five faculty projects awarded Provost’s Teaching Innovation Prize | University Record