Visiting Assistant Professor - Design Thinking

Job description

Visiting Assistant Professor - Design Thinking

New Orleans, LA
Open Date:
Mar 23, 2021
Close Date:
May 14, 2021

The Phyllis Taylor Center for Social Innovation and Design Thinking was founded as a university-wide initiative in 2014 through a generous endowment gift by Mrs. Taylor. The center was conceived as a way to build on existing strengths involving positive social change across all ten schools and several other centers at Tulane University. A core program is the undergraduate minor in social innovation and social entrepreneurship (started in 2012). Numerous co-curricular student programs were also launched as part of Tulane University’s emergence as an Ashoka U Changemaker Campus in 2009. The center serves as a catalyst for additional opportunities and dimensions that are now afforded to faculty, students, staff, and community partners who are interested in engaging with challenges of social inequity, exclusion, and environmental issues that exist in New Orleans and throughout the nation and world. 

Design Thinking

One way of engaging and promoting systems change is through design thinking (DT) or human-centered design (HCD). The DT process has been part of the social innovation minor and other learning experiences since the program began. There is growing interest on campus and beyond to apply the process, methodology, and mindset to assist in exploring and solving complex societal problems. The Taylor Center mission and goal is to “cultivate and connect changemakers,” and we see design thinking as a part of any changemaking toolkit. DT is therefore central to much of our work. With this position, we seek to expand, enrich and improve our teaching, learning, and research in the area of design thinking for social impact.


  • Lead and support design thinking programming and coursework for diverse audiences
  • Engage in research, scholarship and field leadership in design thinking for social impact and relevant fields
  • Collaborate with Taylor Center staff and faculty and Tulane constituents as opportunities arise

Position description and duties to include:

  • Facilitating a faculty learning program for incorporating DT methods and mindsets into research and/or teaching that meets at least monthly
  • Developing a graduate student training and research programs that meets at least weekly
  • Hosting networking for regional DTSI practitioners that meets at least monthly
  • Offering public workshops that are offered at least monthly
  • Developing a workshop in partnership with Tulane’s HR department focused on culture change at Tulane, 1-2 per academic year
  • Proposing a one-year research agenda that building on your prior work and aligns with the Taylor Center’s mission and core values -and/or- engaging in current research collaborations with Taylor Center and Tulane colleagues
  • Advancing Taylor’s recognition as a field leader in design thinking for social impact and related fields


Required Education and Experience:

  • Master’s degree in related/relevant field, including design thinking experience in the educational setting

Required Knowledge, skills, abilities/competencies typically needed to perform this job successfully:

  • Experienced in a higher education setting and able to communicate effectively to diverse audiences in community-based and higher education settings
  • Experienced in theory and applied practice of DT, especially human-centered design for social impact
    • Familiar with the standard range of DT models, training formats, materials, and curricula
    • Experienced and proficient in collaborative, creative problem-solving
    • Able to conceptualize, plan, develop and implement DT programs
    • Understands and can integrate design thinking methodology with other methodologies used in mission-driven work (dialogue processes, participatory engagement, systems practice, etc.)
  • Able to take direction, manage projects, and participate on cross-functional teams as needed

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Doctoral degree in relevant academic field (anthropology, sociology or other liberal arts; design field such as architecture, engineering; professional fields of education, organizational management, planning, etc.) with strong focus on HCD within doctoral training and/or research
  • Direct experience in higher education setting, including prior university teaching or research experience
  • Involvement in design work in some way (academic, professional or other)
  • Familiar with social impact field, social innovation or related fields

Report to:  Director of Strategy & Engagement

Application Instructions:

Applications accepted only through Interfolio:




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Job No:
Posted: 3/24/2021
Application Due: 5/23/2021
Work Type: Full Time