Using Design Thinking Methods as Tools for Writing Program Administration


  • Scott Wible University of Maryland


design thinking, writing program administration, empathy, problem definition


This program showcase contributes a different dimension to our collective investment in envisioning how design thinking methods can enhance our work in professional writing programs, as it describes recent attempts to integrate design methods into the author’s writing program administration at a large writing program at a Research 1 institution in the suburb of a major city in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States. The author focuses on three different ways they have used design thinking methods in their WPA work over the past two years: (1) using empathy research questions to prompt storytelling from faculty about their experiences both inside and outside the classroom during and following the pandemic, then using design thinking analytical methods to synthesize data and compose Point of View statements that help them to understand needs and opportunities for faculty; (2) using design levers to prompt teachers to think like designers as they plan, implement, and analyze learning experiences for students; and (3) using appreciative inquiry methodology to examine how faculty have integrated new curriculum designs aimed at enacting program-, department-, and university-wise values into our general education professional writing courses. While these design-oriented WPA projects are in-process and, as such, the analysis is preliminary, this discussion nevertheless contributes to our collective thinking about how design thinking methods might usefully inform our professional practice teaching, researching, and administrating within technical and scientific communication programs.


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Author Biography

Scott Wible, University of Maryland

Scott Wible is an Associate Professor of English, Director of the Professional Writing Program, and Faculty Fellow in the Academic of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the University of Maryland, College Park.




How to Cite

Wible, S. (2024). Using Design Thinking Methods as Tools for Writing Program Administration. Programmatic Perspectives, 14(2). Retrieved from