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

At Santa Clara University, our Maker Culture consists of a creative and inventive spirit, an entrepreneurial mindset, and a drive to bring value to others.

How does your institution foster maker culture?

We foster a Maker Culture with an accessible Maker Lab that is incorporated into our program in a variety of ways, to include courses, clubs, and a variety of (co-)extracurricular activities.

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

Education in the context of our Maker Culture is implemented in a variety of ways. We have basic tool/lab training courses required for using the Maker Lab. We build upon this with several 1-unit courses that teach design principles for making new things. This is further addressed in our regular engineering curriculum in our hands-on courses and projects.

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

Key programs that support Maker Skills include our innovation/entrepreneurship program, our robotics/mechatronics program, our Frugal Innovation and Community projects initiatives, and our capstone engineering program.

Key classes that support the Maker Skills include courses such as Product Opportunity Assessment, Smart Product Design, Mechatronics, Bio-Device Engineering, Graphical Communication in Design, 3D Printing Technology and Society, and a variety of senior capstone projects.  

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

We have a Maker Club and a Product Design Club that are both closely associated with the Maker Lab. Student makers are also integral parts of our Robotic Systems Lab, Frugal Innovation Lab, Studio Art program, our AIAA student chapter, our Amateur Radio Club, and our Community Projects initiative.

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

Our Maker Lab includes basic hand and power tools, several 3D printers, a laser cutter, several computerized table routers, a small CNC milling machine, soldering equipment, a PCB mill, and Injection molder, a vacuum former, a vinyl plotter, a hot wire cutting station, a sewing machine, and other miscellaneous tools. We will soon be expanding this toolset to include additional embedded systems development stations, DIY biology tools (such as bio-printers), etc.

We also have traditional model and metal shops in the Mechanical Engineering Department (to include saws, lathes, mills, etc.), structural and material test equipment in our Civil Engineering Labs and Mechanical Engineering materials lab, and circuit fabrication/test and RF system development stations in our Electrical Engineering labs.

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

Currently, we host prominent community makers as speakers, send students/faculty/staff to local Maker Faires, and expoit open source Maker resources.

We hope to dramatically expand our community Maker activities in 2015 by establishing a maker mentor program with our local graduates, by teaming with local industry to share maker resources and provide maker services, by teaching maker courses as part of our K-12 and community outreach program, etc.

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

We have collaborations with Maker-oriented groups within Intel and Nike, both of which have sponsored maker projects and design challenges. We have conducted 3D printing workshops for our campus Art Museum as well as for the Tech Museum in San Jose.

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

The creation of our Maker Lab has made dramatically improved access to Maker tools and to interdisciplinary design space. This has motivated many new projects and collaborations and has generally sparked a wonderful level of excitement and creativity within our School of Engineering and across our campus.

What are the success stories relating to your maker culture?

  • Two of our graduates have made the cover of MAKE Magazine!
  • Students/faculty/staff have used the Maker Lab to prototype capabilities that have led to 3 provisional patents.

Learn more about Making at Santa Clara University