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Core Design Program

Learning Communities

All first-year (Core) design students participate in one of our two learning communities:

  • Year-long, residential Design Exchange
  • One-semester, nonresidential Design Collaborative

Our learning communities connect you with other students new to the College of Design and help you develop friendships with people who share and understand your experiences.

Both communities are accompanied by a required orientation seminar course (DSN S 110 or DSN S 115) to help you:

  • Increase your understanding of the different design disciplines and career options;
  • Gain insight into portfolio development, sketchbooks, creativity, internships and study abroad opportunities; and
  • Clarify your personal and career goals.

Design Exchange

The Design Exchange is a year-long, residential community housed in Friley and Linden Halls. An upper-class design student, who serves as a mentor, lives on the same floor to answer your questions, and you can work in a studio space designated for Design Exchange participants. Each February, students in this learning community travel to Minneapolis to visit design firms, art museums and the Mall of America. Throughout the year, you may take part in academic and social activities arranged by a peer mentor as well as workshops geared toward helping you with the application process to the college’s degree programs.

Design Collaborative

The Design Collaborative is a one-semester, nonresidential community required for all first-year students who are not enrolled in the Design Exchange. It allows you to connect with peers and faculty members, expand your knowledge of the various majors in the College of Design, and enhance the skills you’ll need to succeed as a design student.

Find Out More

For more information on either of these learning communities, including how to sign up, contact Malinda (Mindy) Cooper, Learning Communities Coordinator, (515) 294-3680,