To Brad Weigle, creativity is the strongest, most defensible human strength in the ever-changing professional landscape of new technology. In the College of Innovation and Design, Weigle works as the director of Innovation and Design: Emerging Applications (ID:EA) certificate program. In the ID:EA program, students learn everything from how to concept and debate big ideas, fly drones, hack their idea or business, 3D printing and perform primary research to name a few.
“It doesn’t matter what degree program someone is coming from,” Weigle wrote in an email. “We believe that a student equipped with the ability to think innovatively and creatively will have both a sustainable future in their chosen career and a competitive edge.”
The program originally began in 2017 when Weigle and the co-director of the ID:EA program Jennie Meyers tested different versions of the class. It was officially added to the class roster very recently, accepting students into the program during spring semester 2019.
Weigle says there are four different courses offered through the program. All classes are 7-week long courses, three credits each, offered in-person and online, available every fall and spring semester and can be taken in any order. According to Weigle, all four classes could even be taken in the same semester.
“This program is not meant to replace any given degree program or existing career path- it’s
meant to support and enhance it,” Weigle wrote. “Whether you’re an engineer, business person, artist, media professional, programmer, whatever – you can earn your ID:EA certificate to help you think about the work you do more creatively. We believe that a person armed with creative problem solving capabilities is prepared to take on whatever comes their way.”
Remy Krey-Rebentisch, a senior media arts major, decided to pursue an ID:EA certificate after their advisor recommended it. The advisor went on to describe what the courses looked like and asked Krey-Rebentisch several follow-up questions to ensure the courses were appropriate for a media arts major.
“She raved about the courses and shared stories she had heard from previous students who had completed it,” Krey-Rebentisch said. “I’m so happy I made the decision to take these classes.”
Krey-Rebentisch explained the most valuable thing she has gained from this program is the ability to think creatively, inside and outside of the classroom.
“One day in Creative Concepting, we were asked the question, ‘How might we address the amount of anxiety and stress college students experience’ and tasked with coming up with as many creative ideas as we could in a certain amount of time,” Krey-Rebentisch said. “Some of the ideas included free campus-wide parking for all students, puppies in the quad for stress relief and even an on-campus waterpark. The mindset that no idea is a dumb idea was the catalyst for coming to some pretty cool revelations- and although they might not all be practical, we found a few gold nuggets.”
Kinzie Hague is another senior media arts major involved in the ID:EA program. She described her initial decision to join the program based on the relevant course material.
“There’s no doubt that media and technology are transforming the way business is conducted and I was eager to take courses that revolved around this emerging technology,” Hague said. “I was also excited to take classes that forced me to think outside the box when building my own mock company and learning how to grow my company through platforms like Google and Facebook Analytics.”
Hague credits the ID:EA program with giving her a clear plan for life after college. She plans to expand the knowledge she has gained in the program by pursuing a career in advertising.
“I definitely see myself pursuing a career in the advertising industry,” Hague said. “Advertising is exciting because every day is filled with different tasks and challenges, all of which force you to be creative.”