New minor combines art and engineering

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The University of Connecticut’s School of Fine arts is creating a new industrial design minor that will combine the digital field, architecture and engineering, Chris Sancomb, assistant professor of art and industrial design, said. 

The minor is part of the Krenicki Arts and Engineering Institute, with a collaboration with the School of Engineering and the School of Fine Arts. According to UConn Today, University of Connecticut alumni John and Donna Krenicki gave $5 million to the two schools in 2019 to launch the Institute which would offer interdisciplinary classes, like industrial design.


Donna and John Krecki, donors for the Krecki Arts and Engineering Institute.  Photo courtesy of    UConn Today

Donna and John Krecki, donors for the Krecki Arts and Engineering Institute. Photo courtesy of UConn Today

Sancomb said that the minor came from students from both schools wanting to expand their design and engineering education. He said that he is excited to be developing this new program. 

“Industrial design is the creation of products and environment and sometimes systems that are all around everywhere,” he said. “Phones, hairbrushes, shoes, everything has been designed to how it is used, looks [and] feels. It is the specific field of the world around us.” 

Any UConn undergraduate can apply for the minor or sign up for the classes, Sancomb said. The classes are currently under instructor permission only. Interested students would have to reach out to him and their advisors before trying to sign up.  

The minor currently requires 12 credits with two classes being offered in fall 2020 and the other two in spring 2021, Sancomb said. 

The two classes available for fall 2020 are ART 3705 Industrial Design: Form, Structure, and Space and Art 3710 Industrial Design: Drawing and Modeling for Design. According to the class descriptions provided by Sancomb, ART 3705 will introduce spatial visualization with hands-on projects. ART 3710 will cover techniques ranging from “basic freehand perspective drawing through sketching for concept development to digital modeling and rendering.” 

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Art, digital media, engineering, all students who are curious and interested should reach out to discuss because classes are going to fill up.
— Chris Sancomb

“[These are] brand new classes that I created for this year,” he said. “They will make a core area of study for the minor in industrial design and help establish operating system fields and establish ways of communication and thinking.” 

The classes would have around 10 to 12 students per class. The small classes allow for a more personal interaction and makes it easier to collaborate in pairs or groups, Sancomb said. 

“Critique is often a very standard form of feedback and collective discussion in class,” he said. “Having students from the arts, engineering, French, humanities [and other disciplines will allow interesting critique] because the community in the interdisciplinary class like this.”  

He said that classes will have the ability to work with a wide range of equipment, like 3D printers and laser cutters. 

Sancomb said that students should reach out as soon as possible if they want more information.

“Art, digital media, engineering, all students who are curious and interested should reach out to discuss because classes are going to fill up,” Sancomb said.  

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Rachel Philipson is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at rachel.philipson@uconn.edu

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