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M. Zingoni

Arizona State University (UNITED STATES)
The evolution and revolution in technology enables opportunities for intersections between disciplines never explored before. The Association of College Unions International expressed the changes in learning outcome values in the last decade: from efficiency to collaboration. “The zeitgeist of the 20th century was all about efficiency—breaking each thing down into its smallest constituent parts, standardizing those, and putting everything back together in hierarchical order, so as to produce more, better, faster. The 20th century was about separating things, not uniting them. It was about standardizing, not customizing. The problem arises in that the 21st century is emerging as the “Knowledge Era.” If “efficiency” was the buzzword of the 20th century, then “collaboration” is the buzzword of the 21st…” (ACUI), 2011) Additionally, Educator Ken Robinson stated in 2010 that 70% that the jobs that this generation of elementary student will have, do not exist today. What are the right skills across all ages that can enable students to address the future challenges?

The core values of learning outcomes from K-12 in the US to improve competitiveness in technology development is based by the acronym STEM; Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. In 2011, The Head of the Rhode Island Design School, Maeda, stated that the STEM subjects alone will not lead to the kind of breathtaking innovation the 21st century demands and suggested to change to STEAM, incorporating the A, (art). (Maeda, 2011).

Overall audiences tend to erroneously generalize the disciplines of art and architecture as one. Art is about creative expression that surpasses the functional requirements of its existence. Conversely, Architecture is an example of STEM and the humanities integrated in a epistemological approach. It is the artistic product derived from the process of synthesizing knowledge from a variety of disciplines such as ecology, construction, engineering (structures and systems), environmental psychology, human behavior and needs, while addressing aesthetic values for the purpose of responding to a particular problem within a particular context (Physical, social, political, etc). The difference between art and architecture is reinforced by Archer, who proposed design as a third academic culture in addition to science and the humanities. He expressed, “Designed… is defined as the area of human experience, skills and understanding that reflects man’s concern with the appreciation and adaptation of his surroundings in the light of his materials and spiritual needs, In particular, though not exclusively, it relates with the configuration, composition, meaning, value and purpose in man-made phenomena”. (Archer, 1979, p20).

This suggests that incorporating the A from art to STEM, to create STEAM, leaves aside skills sets associated with Design disciplines.
This paper presents the
(1) the relevance of design disciplines skills in the global word;
(2) researcher’s perspective on students readiness for college, based in data collected over a period of eight years;
(3) describes examples of teaching pedagogy, process and outcomes of freshman students in Architecture, Landscape Architecture and Interior;
(4) the impact of student learning and their ability to generate epistemological and innovative solutions through the design thinking methodology.