“Design is the distinguishing mark of engineering.”
— Herbert A. Simon, The Sciences of the Artificial, 1969, 1981, 1996
The Harvey Mudd College curriculum maintains exceptional rigor in engineering, science and mathematics, along with an unusually strong emphasis on humanities and social science. Its broad, unspecialized engineering curriculum maintains a strong emphasis on design—from students’ first year through engineering majors’ Clinic project—and strongly emphasizes a hands-on approach to “real world” problems. The Center for Design Education (CED) is a logical outgrowth of the ethos of the HMC approach to engineering education.
CED organizes a series of biennial workshops on topics of interest to design teachers, researchers, practitioners and engineering educators. The center also works to propagate and disseminate values of design in engineering education by involving students in design-related summer research projects and supporting HMC’s educational engineering programs and facilities.
The Center for Design Education, created in 1995, evolved quite naturally from its founding organization, HMC’s Engineering Design Center. The design center was first envisioned as an integrated network of computing facilities and laboratories that would support the Department of Engineering’s multidisciplinary program and enhance its emphasis on engineering design. This vision was later broadened—and dedicated as the Center for Design Education—to include programmatic activities focusing on design education and related design and pedagogical research. The new center set about advocating the centrality of design in engineering education.