Asee peer logo

Product Design And Innovation Curriculum

Download Paper |


2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

ABET Criterion 4 and Liberal Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.1013.1 - 9.1013.13

Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

Gary Gabriele

Download Paper |

NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Product Design and Innovation: Combining the Social Sciences, Design, and Engineering Gary A. Gabriele1, Frances Bronet 2, Larry Kagan3, Ron Eglash4, David Hess5, and Barbara Seruya6 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Troy, NY 12180


It is increasingly evident that new products and services must be regarded not only as commodities in a marketplace, but also as social actors that can constrain or enable the quality of our life. In recognition of these two perspectives, Product Design and Innovation (PDI) is a new undergraduate dual degree program at Rensselaer that seeks to educate students for careers in new product invention and development with a sense for both the technical and social issues. PDI is a dual major program satisfying the requirements for the Bachelor of Science programs in Mechanical Engineering, and Science, Technology and Society (STS). PDI prepares students to become innovative designers who can integrate contemporary technologies with changing social contexts for a new generation of advanced product designs.

PDI aims to balance the traditional approaches of Architectural/Industrial Design and Engineering Design - often governed by the aesthetic and the technical - with the approach of Science and Technology Studies (STS) - the social. Students develop a set of general engineering skills through meeting the degree requirements for mechanical engineering, and a set of analytical skills for understanding society and culture through meeting the degree requirements for STS. But the backbone of PDI is the sequence of eight design studios, one every semester, that aim to integrate all three dimensions of the program - the technical, the aesthetic, and the social - with an emphasis on creativity and the imaginative application of new technologies and materials. The design studios help students to explore and develop their creativity while building a portfolio of design experiences continuously throughout all four years.

This paper will describe the PDI program, its goals, how it was formulated, and review experiences we have had in offering this innovative program. We will discuss how the design 1 Gary Gabriele, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Department of Mechanical, Aerospace and Nuclear Engineering, Troy, NY 12180 2 Frances Bronet, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, School of Architecture, Troy, NY 12180, 3 Larry Kagan, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Department of the Arts, Troy, NY 12180, 4 Ron Eglash, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Department of Science and Technology Studies, Troy, NY 12180, 5 David Hess, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Department of Science and Technology Studies, Troy, NY 12180, 6 Barbara Seruya, Barbara Seruya & Associates, New York, NY 10014,

“Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2004, American Society for Engineering Education”

Gabriele, G. (2004, June), Product Design And Innovation Curriculum Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah.

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2004 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015