» first in a series of posts by Emily Unrue, Ethics Lab Program Manager

This Tuesday, Ethics Lab hosted the first crits of the semester in Profs. Bass and Dhillon’s The University as a Design Problem class.

Proverbial wisdom says that one of the best ways to learn is by doing, so I decided to dive in this semester and get the full studio experience. As Ethics Lab’s new Program Manager, I could think of no better way to have an immersive and authentic learning experience than to take one of our courses end-to-end, participating fully as a student.

Before the semester started, Arjun Dhillon sat down with me to provide context and background on the evolution of “studio” and how it fit, specifically, into the portfolio of Ethics Lab, and how, more broadly, the studio ecosystem could serve as a powerful change agent within the university. I was intrigued, but I was fairly certain I was missing the nuance of what made courses delivered in studio so dynamic and impactful.

After some additional dialogue, Arjun invited me to join him and Prof. Bass in their upcoming course. It would not only allow me to tackle innovative ways to re-imagine the university learning environment through an ethics- and justice-focused lens (a favorite topic of mine), but it would also give me on-the-ground experience with one of the most vibrant and visible pieces in the Ethics Lab arsenal.

Which brings me to this Tuesday.

I had the good fortune to be partnered for project work with Stephanie Denoyer and Lilyan Tay, both graduating this spring. They’ll make frequent appearances in this blog over the course of the semester as I document my experience and give you a glimpse behind the scenes into studio, Ethics Lab, and what it means to approach, design, and envision innovative models of the undergraduate educational experience.

Stay tuned for part two where I’ll discuss our group’s first crit in detail and share some of the other initial ideas that came out of our class. It’s going to be an exciting semester; I hope you’ll follow along and see where our project and vision take us.