As an institution, how would you define 'maker culture'?

Making is the essence of creativity and invention in both the arts and technology, which still form the heart of Carnegie Mellon's curricula. While 100 years ago, CMU students were developing stainless steel and other materials, designing roads and bridges, and writing plays, today they are also making robots, apps, games, fluorescent neurons, biosensors, and computer simulated-images of the origin of the universe. Making remains the vibrant essence of discovery and economic growth in our world. 

How does your institution foster maker culture?

Carnegie Mellon's roots as a technical trade school founded for the sons and daughters of steelworkers instills in us a deep appreciation of the power of "making things," an approach to learning that has driven CMU's educational experience for more than a century. Making at Carnegie Mellon has motivated decades of cross-disciplinary collaboration that brings together engineering, science, design, the arts, computer science, policy, and business.

Carnegie Mellon has historically been engaged in major initiatives in the Maker movement:

  • The very cornerstone of the Maker movement was laid at Carnegie Mellon. Work by Dr. Lee Weiss of CMU's Robotics Institute in the 1990's was among the first steps in the development of 3D printing technology.
  • Carnegie Mellon was also one of the first universities to offer the option of including a Maker portfolio in its admissions process. This action was taken to recognize and tap the creativity of applicants, reinforce the value of emerging high school Maker programs, and strengthen the Maker culture across our campus community.
  • In 2003, CMU launched a Master of Integrated Innovation for Products and Services, a degree program that prepares students to work on cross-disciplinary "maker" teams, uniting engineering, design, and business.
  • In 2012, Carnegie Mellon led the formation of the academic team that successfully competed for the national innovation institute for additive manufacturing, America Makes. In collaboration with our America Makes partners, we are committed to closing those critical gaps that still impede the development of these new technologies while also creating a beacon for engaging high school and college students in Maker activities. With pride, we helped establish the hub of America Makes in Youngstown, Ohio, as a statement of faith in the power this technology to shape the future of this region united by a rich industrial legacy.
  • Faculty and students regularly reach beyond our campus to bring Maker experiences to many neighborhoods and communities. CMU's Entertainment Technology Center (ETC) developed the first Maker space for a children's museum in Pittsburgh in 2010. The ETC has also helped create digital media Maker spaces at the Harold Washington Library in Chicago and at the Carnegie Library in Pittsburgh.
  • In 2012, we also joined with the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO and the regional workforce investment board in collaboration with Tech Shop to launch the "New App for Making it in America" project, with support from the U.S. Department of Labor. As noted above, this project is forging new cross-community collaborations and supporting CMU manufacturing spinouts with a well-trained work force right here in Pittsburgh. This project will also result in the creation of the first recognized national Maker credential. We believe that this credential will act as a powerful catalyst for linking Maker and Making activities to new business creation and manufacturing across the United States.

How are you approaching maker education with your current or future curricula?

The Integrative Design, Arts and Technology Network (IDeATe) at Carnegie Mellon University connects diverse strengths across CMU to advance education, research and creative practice in domains that merge technology and arts expertise.

IDeATe supports eight interrelated undergraduate concentration areas, all of which can also be taken as minors. The themes of these areas integrate knowledge in technology and arts: game design, animation and special effects, media design, sound design, learning media design, entrepreneurship for creative industries, intelligent environments, and physical computing.

The IDeATe concentrations aim to train a student to be excellent in one area of technology or arts and be able to collaborate within diverse cohorts of technology and arts experts. To achieve this goal, IDeATe has sponsored the development of 30 new interdisciplinary technology-arts studio based courses. These studio classes are focused on hands on collaborative learning and are structured to combine students from many different disciplines. The curriculum is being developed and delivered by 65 faculty across 15 different academic units of CMU and being delivered at the new IDEATE collaborative making facility housed at the central Hunt Library.

IDeATe is also supporting the development of a new cross CMU professional Masters degree in Emerging Media. The degree is being planned as a collaborative effort of the College of Fine Arts (CFA), School of Computer Science (SCS), and College of Engineering (CIT). The program will consist of a first-year experience that builds fundamental skills in a key component of emerging media coupled with interdisciplinary knowledge fusion and problem solving experiences in the second year focused on grand challenges in emerging media.

IDeATe is also leading the development of the CMU Integrative Media Program (IMP) in NYC. The IMP program is part of the Applied Sciences NYC initiative. The CMU IMP facility at Steiner Studios at the Brooklyn Navyyard will start hosting four interrelated graduate programs in Fall 2015: Emerging Media Masters, Masters in Computational Data Science, Masters in Integrated Innovation, Masters in Urban Design.

What are the key programs, initiatives or classes that support the development of maker skills?

In fall 2014, Carnegie Mellon will launch eight cross-CMU interdisciplinary minors designed to offer to all our undergraduates the opportunity for learning through collaborative Maker experiences that span creativity, technology, culture, and entrepreneurship. Based on 30 new interdisciplinary studio-format courses, this curriculum aims to connect the disciplinary expertise of each student to diverse Maker contexts and spur creativity and innovation. These minors are being created through the Integrative Design Arts and Technology (IDEATE) initiative.

In the fall of 2015, Carnegie Mellon will launch the Integrative Media Program (IMP) in New York City. The IMP program is the only of the four applied science initiatives that the City has launched to bridge technology, arts, and business expertise to advance Maker opportunities in emerging media and foster participatory culture. The IMP@NYC is a Master's level program focused on offering collaborative Maker learning and retraining opportunities to a diverse set of professionals, and it creates direct links that engage and foster synergy with Maker capabilities in both New York and Pittsburgh.

How are your students involved in making? Are there maker groups or organizations on campus organized by students?

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Give a snapshot overview of the primary facilities, technologies and tools that campus makers have or will have access to?

The introduction of the IDEATE curriculum will be accompanied by an investment of more than $5 million in new Maker spaces on CMU's Pittsburgh, New York City, and Silicon Valley locations.

In the fall of 2014, Carnegie Mellon will open the IDEATE@Hunt Collaborative Making Facility. The facility will occupy the first two floors of our central library, thus signaling the evolution of the library into a mediated learning commons. It will include 24/7 digital fabrication shops, a physical computing lab, an interactive media black box, a virtual computing cluster, and collaborative design studios open to all library users.

In summer 2014, Carnegie Mellon will open the Integrated Innovation Instituteas a setting for educating students on market-centered innovations. This Maker environment facilitates cross-training in engineering, design, and business.

In the fall of 2015, Carnegie Mellon will open 12,600 square feet of bio- and nano- fabrication lab capabilities for next-generation nano-additive and bio-additive Making.

Throughout 2014 and into 2015, Carnegie Mellon is developing a new Advanced Manufacturing Facility for research and development highlighted by several high-end metal and polymer additive manufacturing machines. This facility will be home to new additive manufacturing projects, particularly in conjunction with America Makes.

In addition to serving CMU students, these new facilities will create an additional focal point for our collaboration with the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO to provide organized labor with a window on innovation and make them full partners in the innovation process.

How does your school engage with the maker community at large?

We share the vision that Making provides an opportunity to build bridges across communities. Carnegie Mellon students, union tradesmen and craftsmen, and Pittsburgh high school students have come together by tapping their inner "Maker" to discover new ways to work together. We have also witnessed the power of the Maker revolution to create new avenues for Carnegie Mellon spin-outs to secure the manufacturing of their products here in Pittsburgh.

What partnerships (informal or formal) do you have with makers and/or community organizations outside of campus?

As one aspect of Carnegie Mellon's new Simon Initiative in technology-enhanced learning, the university will open a Learning Media Design Center in fall 2014 that will focus on K-12 education through new media and Maker experiences. The center will be the bridge linking CMU's initiatives in Making to the region and in particular for collaboration with the Remake Learning Council in Pittsburgh. This center will focus on integrating neighborhood, school, library, Tech Shop, and museum initiatives to CMU's research and educational initiatives.

Carnegie Mellon will partner with the Intel Corporation to advance best practices in Maker education for K-16 and lifelong learning and related Maker tool-kits. This project seeks to combine new Intel Maker-oriented processors with software applications and Maker curricula drawn from Carnegie Mellon and partner universities from across the nation. This collaboration is part of the Intel Design Network, a network of technology and arts schools brought together by Intel for advancing Maker-based learning and Physical Computing. Our collaboration with Intel will be combined with the Intel® Software Academic Program, the Stay With It program for improving the retention rate of science and engineering students at HBCUs and other underrepresented-population educational institutions supported by the Intel® Software Academic Program. This program is preparing a broader population of future educators to engage more young people in STEM and enhance the STEM pipeline. The embrace of diverse learning styles and approaches in STEM curricula in Maker-based learning can attract more people from underrepresented groups (women and minorities) to STEM education and careers.

What has been the impact of maker culture on your campus?

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What are the success stories relating to your maker culture?

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