Design Innovation Welcomes the 2023-2024 Faculty Fellows Cohort

The Design Innovation Initiative is pleased to welcome the second cohort of the Faculty Fellows program.

Based in the DI Hub, the program launched in 2022 to create space for faculty members from any field to devote a portion of their teaching, research and scholarly focus to collaborative, cross-disciplinary projects and DI co-teaching experiences for an entire academic year. As they engage in a deeper-dive into the “Design Innovation Toolkit,” the fellowship aims to facilitate a university-wide cultural change toward a collaborative innovation mindset.

The 2023-2024 Faculty Fellows Cohort

Headshot of Gargi Bhaduri

Gargi Bhaduri, Ph.D.

An associate professor of fashion design and merchandising in the School of Fashion, Bhaduri wants to try things she would never do in her normal work. The goal of her project is to collaborate across disciplines to create innovative ways to empower and educate community members to make environmentally, socially, and commercially-conscious choices for the future. She plans to develop a DI grand challenge course with local businesses and explore how businesses and consumers can co-exist with sustainability.

Headshot of Loubna Bilali

Loubna Bilali, Ph.D. 

An associate professor of translation technology in the Department of Modern and Classical Language Studies, Bilali will bring together language, culture, technology, business, legal, marketing and other sectors to address how translation is handled in the process of “localization” in technology offerings, especially mobile devices. She hopes to develop a course that will allow students from these fields to develop a product that will overcome translation problems in technology.

Headshot of Joanne Caniglia

Joanne Caniglia, Ph.D.

Caniglia teaches a course on math methods for special needs education as an associate professor in the College of Education, Health and Human Services. She hopes to ​​create, implement, and evaluate a digital fabrication curriculum for mathematics teacher education classes for future special education teachers both at Kent State and at the University of Rwanda.  Through this project she intends to explore how makerspaces can be beneficial and cost-effective for teachers in Rwanda through codesigning teacher professional development modules. She is also co-teaching the Fall 2023 Intro to DI course with DI Faculty Fellow, Susan Sainato.

Headshot of Qunxing Ding

Qunxing Ding, Ph.D.

Ding, an associate professor of biology, will explore developing a modified bacteria  coupled with a simple and cost-available biodigestion unit that will enable families to produce small-scale biogas from organic materials at home. Ding will be utilizing 3D printing and other digital prototyping tools to fabricate and test the concept. According to the World Wildlife Fund, biogas is a more sustainable alternative to natural gas.

Headshot of David Foster

David Foster

An associate professor of multimedia and photojournalism in the School of Media and Journalism, Foster will explore AI and Photorealism issues in the field. The advancement of artificial intelligence imaging algorithms has opened new worlds for artists, storytellers and content creators. However, these tools have the power to easily mislead viewers and alter reality. His project will involve a combination of workshops, co-instruction, and hands-on experimentation with AI tools where students and faculty will work together to create photo-realistic images and then engage in critical discussions about the ethics and implications of these creations.

Headshot of Claudia Gomez

Claudia Gomez, Ph.D.

An assistant professor in the Management and Information Systems Department at the Stark campus, Gomez will explore how AI-assisted technologies combined with Design Innovation strategies can help the decision-making process in human resources. Coming from the Stark Campus, she hopes to extend the DI thinking to regional campuses.

Headshot of Will Kalkhoff

Will Kalkhoff, Ph.D.

Professor and Executive Director of the Electrophysiological Neuroscience Laboratory of Kent State  in the Department of Criminology and Sociology, Kalkhoff will explore how technology impacts law enforcement training and safety. From his findings, he will investigate a better way to train officers outside the typical screen-based programs, with the potential to use virtual reality and artificial intelligence as a means to develop more responsive ‘characters’ to improve training experiences through immersive tools.

Photos of Koon-Hwee Kan and Pinyan Zhu

Koon-Hwee Kan, Ed.D. and Pinyan Zhu, Ph.D.

Koon-Hwee Kan is an associate professor of art education in the School of Art. Pinyan Zhu is an assistant professor of art history in the School of Art with a speciality in Chinese Buddhist visual culture. Co-sponsored by the School of Peace and Conflict Studies, the two plan to bring new life to courses on Asian art with 3D scans as they investigate how the materials and environments of ancient limestone carvings in China impacted human design, style and art. Their collaboration seeks to bring a new awareness to the meanings/perceptions of cultural art in the context of visual culture and historical analysis.

Headshot of Vaneet Kaur

Vaneet Kaur, Ph.D.

An assistant professor of Management at Ambassador Crawford College of Business and Entrepreneurship, Kaur will utilize her previous research in knowledge management to address and measure core competencies that define the Design Innovation context for students by building a research-based pedagogy to enhance capabilities of adult learners so they can conceive, design and implement digital solutions to workplace problems. As such, she is collaborating with the DI Team to better develop a success profile for what constitutes a “fearless collaborator.”

Headshot of Brad Morris

Bradley J. Morris, Ph.D.

An associate professor and program coordinator of the educational psychology program in the School of Lifespan Development and Educational Sciences, Morris will develop a new, interdisciplinary course offered at Kent State entitled Cooking, Science, and Culture. Cooking is a familiar, meaningful activity that is a rich space to connect science with everyday use that naturally centers cultural, community, and family traditions. His project will build off a National Science Foundation grant for using cooking to engage families in STEM.

Headshot of Deepraj Mukherjee

Deepraj Mukherjee, Ph.D.

A professor in the Economics department at Kent State University, Mukherjee aims to promote sustainable development as a Faculty Fellow. He will investigate the impact of the U.N.’s sustainable development goals  on a firm's financials and will work with another member of the cohort, Gargi Bhaduri, to develop teaching resources for the Business Sustainability Grand Challenge course to be implemented in 2024-25 academic year. After teaching the course and refining it the first time, Mukherjee hopes to propose it as a Design Innovation Grand Challenge course that will be open to senior and graduate students from multiple disciplines.

Headshot of Renee Roll

Melanie Renee Roll

An associate professor in the School of Art, Roll will introduce faculty and students in the liberal arts to solving problems through making.  Her project goal is to develop a curriculum for an interdisciplinary course co-taught by faculty from multiple fields in the Kent State community, with a special focus on humanities and creative fields outside of the design programs. Through this research, she hopes to promote new ways of communicating ideas and to create a space for discourse beyond a specific problem and/or design solution. She has titled her proposal “Design as a Critical Discourse.”

Headshot of Susan Sainato

Susan Marie Sainato, Ph.D.

A professor in the Department of English, Sainato holds a Doctor of Philosophy in Middle English Literature. Sainato seeks to use DI’s modern maker technology and approaches to collaborative innovation to develop engaging ways to teach English. She is also co-teaching the Fall 2023 Intro to DI course with DI Faculty Fellow, Joanne Caniglia.

Applications for the 2024-2025 Faculty Fellows cohort will open in late fall semester. Stay in touch and sign up for Design Innovation Communications.

Sign Up for DI Communications


POSTED: Tuesday, September 5, 2023 10:35 AM
Updated: Thursday, September 7, 2023 10:57 AM