Michelle Kwansy photo

Michelle Kwasny

Director of Masters of Science in Design + Innovation
2109 Nancy Nicholas Hall

“Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you. And you can change it, you can influence it. Once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again.”

— Steve Jobs

 

With a background in behavioral psychology, human-computer interaction, and user experience, I am passionate about bringing human-centered design to some of the toughest challenges we face today—those in our cities and schools.

I believe that students have the power to change the world and I’m excited to bring the designers toolkit and mindset to the University of Wisconsin, Madison. In collaboration with the College of Engineering, the School of Business, and the Information School, I am currently leading the design of a new interdisciplinary Masters of Science in Design + Innovation which seeks to offer a truly student-centric, hands-on program in human-centered design.

I am also passionate about the future of education. In addition to my work on the Masters degree, I provide design research insights and strategy for UW leadership on university-wide challenges such as access and affordability.

Prior to UW, I spent 8 wonderful years at IDEO, a global design and innovation company, leading design research and strategy on a portfolio of work focused on service design in public sector and education. I have lectured on the topic of design thinking and innovation at Harvard, MIT, Dartmouth, and the Berklee College of Music. I hold a Master’s degree in Human-Computer Interaction from Georgia Tech in Atlanta, Georgia, and a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana.