NWACC to Expand Integrated Design Program to Include Product Development and Package Design| NorthWest Arkansas Community College

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NWACC to Expand Integrated Design Program to Include Product Development and Package Design

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NWACC recently received a $618,319 Advanced Technological Education (ATE) grant through the National Science Foundation (NSF) to expand the college’s Integrated Design program’s disciplines and further develop its design curriculum to include an emphasis on product development and package design.

"We are thrilled to receive this grant from the National Science Foundation. This funding will allow NWACC to continue to innovate and expand its integrated design program’s interdisciplinary design thinking curriculum," said NWACC NSF Grant Director Elysia Contreras Springer. "Students will be further exposed to the program’s multiple degree tracks while gaining hands-on learning and industry-ready credentials.”

NWACC’s original integrated design program included three disciplines: fine art, construction technology and computer aided design. With the ATE grant funding, the program will now include two additional disciplines, graphic design and engineering technology, further strengthening the program to be an interdisciplinary hub for creativity and innovation.

The program will also expand its curriculum to include product development and package design, a rapidly growing sector of design and business in Northwest Arkansas. The curriculum will include design thinking, prototyping, problem-solving and hands-on projects and collaborations with industry professionals. Students will develop critical skills to support retail suppliers, start-ups, and many other creative industries.  

In addition to curriculum development, the grant funds will go toward purchasing specialized equipment for the Integrated Design Lab, expanding community workshops and classes, and enhancing professional development opportunities in design thinking and sustainability for college and K-12 faculty.

The grant will also allow NWACC to continue to grow its design industry partnerships by adding more industry leaders on to the Integrated Design Advisory Board and creating a business and industry leadership team. Through this type of collaboration, the college’s integrated design faculty will be able to better incorporate hands-on training with specialized equipment and provide students with relevant workforce skills.

To learn more about NWACC’s Integrated Design program, visit www.nwacc.edu/integrateddesign.


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