Class Advisor | Design Thinking

In fall 2016, the School of Public Health will offer a new course called "Design Thinking: An Innovative Approach to Addressing Public Health Challenges" to help launch the Green Line Initiative*. As part of the class, offered both in fall (part one) and spring (part two) semesters, the School is looking for volunteers to serve as Class Advisors. 

The course will help students learn how to apply "design thinking"—a proven and accessible framework for problem solving and creative processes used within design disciplines and increasingly within a wide range of business sectors—to develop innovative, effective, and implementable solutions to the public health challenges experienced by our communities. The Green Line Initiative* is based on the fact that the Metro Transit Green Line runs between the Twin Cities, right through the heart of the University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus, and it connects and traverses some of the most diverse areas in the Twin Cities, as well as communities vastly different in affluence and opportunity.

Class advisors would serve in the following roles, based on the semester:

Fall Semester

Volunteers who are interested in ideas and theories in public health would:

  • Serve as content experts: provide students with resources on the communities of interest, approaches to different public health issues strategies used by others to address similar issues in a different context or community.
  • Serve as history experts: provide students with information on the history of communities and neighborhoods, work that has already been done, and productive relationships that already exist.
  • Assist with networking: provide introductions for students who are trying to contact and involve community members, experts in specific areas or organizations, and other stakeholders.
  • Serve as reviewers: participate in review sessions as students refine and reframe the issues to be addressed.

Spring Semester

Volunteers who are interested in putting public health theories into action would:

  • Assist with translation to action: help develop ways to build support for communities along the Green Line.
  • Serve as collaborators in prototyping: participate in the prototyping process to help develop innovative solutions to community concerns.
  • Serve as reviewers: participate in review sessions as students refine and reframe issues to be addressed.

If you'd like more information about the course or volunteering, please contact Dr. Elizabeth Wattenberg via email.

The deadline to volunteer is August 1, 2016.


* Green Line Initiative: What is it?

The world in our backyard: solving grand challenges close to home.

Launched in 2014, the Metro Transit Green Line runs between Minneapolis and Saint Paul, right through the heart of the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities campus.  Imagine an area extending out eight blocks (one mile) from all 23 Green Line stations. In this 25 square-mile zone is nearly every public health grand challenge--an aging population with a major chronic disease burden; infectious diseases, including HIV and STDs; health equity issues; limited access to fresh foods; environmental concerns; discrepancies in maternal and child health; and safety and injury issues, including gun violence.

The intent of the Green Line Initiative and the new Design Thinking course is to provide a way for SPH students, faculty, staff and alumni to work closely in partnership with the communities in this zone to help neighborhoods develop ways to address public health concerns.