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Siebel Center for Design


Research Assistantship



Description, Responsibilities, and Qualifications


The mission of the Siebel Center for Design (SCD) is to practice model and teach design thinking using human-centered design to reimagine our campus, community, and collective world. To serve its mission, SCD hires graduate students from a variety of disciplines who work on research-based projects that aim to integrate the mindsets, processes, and tools of design thinking into undergraduate and graduate curricula. These students become SCD scholars who act as conduits between specific areas of study and SCD. They serve as ambassadors for the value of human-centered design on the UIUC campus. SCD Scholars might also design and conduct research on human-centered design and design thinking within their chosen paths of study.

Description of the Current Project and Appointment

The Siebel Center for Design (SCD) is planning to build a team of AIFARMS members, faculty members, curriculum designers, teaching assistants, researchers and SCD scholars to work on a project that aims to determine how to support the Master of Engineering (M.Eng) degree in Digital Agriculture with a foundation in design thinking specific to the topic of Digital Agriculture.

For this project, the Siebel Center for Design is seeking two candidates for a 25% Graduate Research Assistant appointment each (10 hours/week). The start date of this position is as soon as possible, and the end date is May 15th, 2024.  The selected candidates will become SCD scholars who will primarily focus on assisting the team in:

  1. Designing a new course for the M.Eng degree in Digital Agriculture, which would introduce students to the approach and mindsets of design thinking in the context of digital agriculture scenarios and content relevant to the course.
  2. Reviewing the courses listed under the concentration requirements for the degree program, and determining where and how design thinking could be integrated in these courses – this would be building off the new foundational design thinking introduction course. 
  3. Working closely with the faculty members associated with the selected courses to create design thinking activities that complement and build from the foundational course, in order to continue to enhance the student’s experience and knowledge of applying design thinking within the context of digital agriculture.
  4. Collecting and analyzing data to evaluate the performance of students as they take these courses, to understand how they’ve understood and applied the processes, tools and mindsets of design thinking through their coursework.
  5. Writing conference submissions and manuscripts for publication.

Required qualifications include:

  • A background/interest in digital agriculture.
  • Ability to work collaboratively.
  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills.

Preferred qualifications include:

  • Teaching experience in K-12 and/or higher education settings.
  • Experience conducting social sciences research including qualitative and quantitative research methodologies.


Based on home college graduate rates

Application Procedure

To apply for this position, please submit your CV to Dr. Saad Shehab at as soon as possible

Contact Info

Contact Name

Saad Shehab

Contact Email

Start Date

Monday, August 15, 2022