From Theory to Practice: UIC’s Interdisciplinary Product Development Program and its New Innovation
May 21, 2008: 6:00 PM - 8:30 PM
Six years ago UIC started its unique Interdisciplinary Product Development (IPD) Program. This is a year-long, experiential learning curriculum where students from the Engineering, Industrial Design and Business programs work together in cross-functional teams for 30 weeks to develop new products for a client company which also sponsors the course for a sponsor’s fee. The sponsor’s fee is used to purchase outside, professional services that could not otherwise be afforded by a course at a public university. In exchange for the sponsor’s fee the client company gets the rights to all the intellectual property developed by the student teams that are working on their assigned project.
The course is team taught by three professors, an engineer, a designer and a marketer, who work together to develop a custom curriculum each year that is appropriate for the particular client company’s problem statement. The three faculty are in the class together for every class session and have extensive product development experience that they bring into the classroom.
One shortcoming of the course that was recognized very early by the 3 faculty was the lack of a dedicated space for the IPD program; a space where student teams could meet and work on their own, outside of class and where their research results and prototype models could be kept. Recently, this problem was solved with the opening of UIC’s new 10,000 sq. ft. Innovation Center on our campus. This IC is capable of providing ongoing workspace for 16 student teams as well as five interdisciplinary faculty research projects. These research projects will provide the IC with recurring revenue to support its ongoing operation and maintenance.
450 North Cityfront Plaza Drive
During his IRT presentation Professor Al Page will describe the IPD program and the IC in detail, explaining how they both operate. He will also show many of the new product concepts that have been developed by the student teams over the past six years. He will be accompanied by Mike Douglass, the R&D Engineeering Manager for Elkay Manufacturing Company, which is this year’s client/sponsor. Mike will comment on what the experience of working with UIC’s student teams in the IPD program and on the use of the new IC which was just opened for use in mid-January of this year.
6:00 PM-6:30 PM: Registration
6:30 PM-7:30 PM: Presentation
7:30 PM-7:45 PM: Q & A
7:45 PM-8:30 PM: Networking at the Midway Club