Despite similar goals, didactic approaches to graduate training vary widely across different disciplines. For instance, the “apprenticeship model” and “lab model” often rely on hierarchical and structured interaction between mentors and students and are most often found in the bench sciences and increasingly also in the social sciences. The “studio model,” on the other side, focuses on one-on-one instruction, collaborative exchange among students, and the synthesis of creativity, critical thinking, and contemplative thought. However, it is often regarded as the preserve of arts, design, and architectural schools. In this project, we will test the promise and limits of adapting a studio model to graduate training in the social sciences (and beyond) through an interdisciplinary collaboration.
We seek to build a pedagogical and spatial prototype for a new and flexible studio model, implement it within a new space and organization, and test the effects of a redesigned, student-centered research space on graduate student integration, behavior, and outcomes.
Faculty and graduate students from the social sciences as well as from the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning will collaboratively engage in this process, with Taubman students and postdoctoral associates designing and creating the space, furnishing, and technology-integration that will support a new studio model. In particular, this will include the design and construction of modular and movable furniture elements that can be reconfigured flexibly to support different types of co-working and collaboration, group sizes, formats of presentation, and technology use. A team of faculty in the Institute for Social Research will then empirically analyze the behavior, experience, and outcomes of graduate students within this new training model and space, including through interviews, observations, and the analysis of location-tracking data.