Complex problems need innovative solutions — that's where design thinking comes in.
Manhattanville’s distinctive Center for Design Thinking (CDT) is a hub where students,
expert faculty, and the greater New York and Westchester County community approach
even the most complex problems with design thinking mindsets and methodologies.
Located within the charming President’s Cottage on our scenic campus, the Center invites
students from all majors to engage in independent study, internships, attend design
thinking classes, participate in workshops, and utilize advanced design and fabrication
Define. Ideate. Prototype.
Design thinking at Manhattanville College offers an innovative approach to problem-solving
that begins with empathy. This human-centered methodology, relevant in all sectors
and industries, equips students with the marketable skills and social responsibility
to become creative change-makers.
The design thinking process unfolds in five steps:
Empathy: Understand your users through observation and interviews, gaining insights into their
needs, goals, and motivations. This step challenges assumptions and creates a foundation
of empathy for solution development.
Define: Based on empathy-driven insights, clearly articulate the problem to be solved. This
clear understanding sparks inspiration and shapes the direction of ideation.
Ideate: Encourage broad thinking to generate a wide array of potential solutions for the
Prototype: Select a promising solution and bring it to life through low-fidelity prototypes.
This tangible representation allows for a more detailed exploration of the solution.
Test: Assess the prototype's effectiveness by gathering user feedback. This step deepens
understanding and guides further refinement.
In essence, human-centered design thinking is a continuous, iterative cycle, using
thorough research methods to comprehend users and test prototypes for meaningful solutions.
At Manhattanville College, these principles are accessible to all majors and can be
further explored by earning a Certificate in Design Thinking.
About the Center
Dive into innovation in the fully-equipped Fabrication Lab (FabLab) and three floors
of state-of-the-art classrooms, designed to encourage collaboration. The open design
thinking spaces feature large worktables, whiteboards, and computers loaded with design
In the FabLab, create prototypes that were ideated following design thinking methodologies
to solve problems in any professional or personal setting where you want to see change.
You’ll meet pioneers of various industries and experts who apply design theory in
specialized areas. Among these, some of the most accomplished and talented are our
own Directors of the Center and the FabLab. Hear from these distinguished leaders
in the field of design thinking.
Associate Provost for Academic Innovation and Design Thinking and Director of the
Center for Design Thinking
Alison Carson, PhD
"More industries — from tech services to retail chains are gravitating toward Design
Thinking because it provides clearer insight into the needs of their customers. Manhattanville
College is proud to be preparing our students for this revolution in thinking which
will impact all industries in the future, as well as the future of education."
Assistant Professor of Communication and Media, and Director of the Fab Lab
At the Fab Lab Professor Capalbo uses project-based learning to foster a community
of makers and develop the technical skills to bring students' ideas to fruition. In
his Introduction to Making course, students explore 3D modeling, design, and aesthetics
through simulated clients and real-world problem-solving.
The Sara Little Turnbull Endowed Scholarship in Design
Each year, an outstanding student with a deep interest in Design Thinking and impressive
design skills is recognized with the Sara Little Turnbull Scholarship in Design Thinking.
This honor is granted by the Sara Little Turnbull Foundation, is dedicated to nurturing
curiosity, endorsing diversity, and boosting underrepresented youth in design fields.
In 2020, the Foundation provided a $50,000 grant to Manhattanville College's Center
for Design Thinking, giving rise to the Sara Little Turnbull Endowed Scholarship in
Design. This award reflects Manhattanville's commitment to fostering innovation and
creativity through Design Thinking in its liberal arts education.
Explore Manhattanville scholarships and aid.
You really feel like you’re making actionable change because you’re working with
people who actually want to make those changes.”
Student and Faculty Testimonials
Both students and faculty learn and grow from designing and completing design thinking
projects at the Center. The facilities, technology, and program structure allows projects
from any and all disciplines.
Gerald Ardito, DPS, Associate Professor of Science and Computer Science Education
"For the past two years, I have been inviting Dr. Carson to my education classes in
order to expose my students, who are teachers and teacher candidates, to the key concepts
of Design Thinking. As they and I engaged with DT, the conversations turned organically
to thinking of curriculum as a product of design. Many of these teachers and teacher
candidates reported that for the first time, they thought about curriculum as a tool
that is ultimately used by students. They were particularly engaged by seeing the
units and lessons they were developing from the students' perspectives. This insight
has had a large impact on how they think about and engage in curriculum design, and
I look forward to this work continuing."
A writer, teacher, and entrepreneur, Professor Stapleton teaches her students how
to develop businesses with their customers in mind.
Inger Stapleton, Adjunct Professor of Business Management
"I am incredibly proud of my students and the way they incorporate the concepts of
design thinking into their business plans to set their startups up for success."
Design Thinking in First-Year Curriculum
Caleigh Brower, Director, Andrew Bodenrader Center for Academic Writing and Composition
"How migh we make students feel included at Manhattanville?"
First-Year students explore the College's history and what their place is within the
College, and its mission. Professor Brower uses design thinking to explore important
issues such as inclusion.