Interview with KSU “DI Hub” Director J.R. Campbell

On March 3, 2019, Kent State University’s J.R. Campbell, Executive Director of the Design Innovation Initiative, was interviewed by Crain’s Cleveland Business in the article “Source Lunch with…J.R. Campbell”.

Read the full article here.

The goal of Kent State University’s (KSU) Design Innovation Initiative is to renovate its vacant, former Art building to bring together students across campus for collaborative, stand-alone courses. This idea is relatively new in the world of higher education, putting KSU at the frontline of this pedagogy. According to J.R. Campbell,

“…the isolation of students, the kind of siloing of disciplines and of all these resources, is almost antithetical to what we should be doing in academia, right? We want to address cross-disciplinary collaboration in teams to help our students build the muscles, essentially, to seek out those kind of really diverse teams as a means for how they would tackle any problem and to really think across the disciplines. So, to understand the discipline that they're coming from but to be able to communicate what they know across disciplines. And honestly, I don't think many universities actually do very well at that right now.”

When asked what he hopes to gain from having the new DI Hub, J.R. responded that he wants to create graduates that are “robot-proof,” meaning to help students learn leadership skills, how to efficiently manage projects and teams, how to collaborate across disciplines, and how to solve problems innovatively, among other skills that would be hard to replace in an increasingly technology-driven economy.

The entire 68,000 SF building is being stripped down and major building systems will be replaced with the goal to meet, at minimum, LEED Silver certification. Advanced collaborative workspaces and maker spaces will be added throughout. In addition, the building will have a large dining venue for students, faculty, and staff to mingle.

We are thrilled to have been selected as Architect of Record (teamed with internationally-acclaimed design firm Bohlin Cywinski Jackson) for this highly visible project.

Domokur Architects has enjoyed a solid working relationship with KSU’s in-house Office of The University Architect staff, having successfully completed over 30 projects over the last 15 years.