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HCDE's Guiding Principles

Student in makerspace

HCDE is where equity and empathy are integral to the construction of the future. We connect complex methodologies, systems, and technologies to critical needs in everyday life.

The HCDE Strategic Plan, launched in 2019, aligns the department around a bold path for the next five years. These are the principles that will guide our work.


We respect all individuals, communities, and their agency. We assume positive intent on behalf of those we work with and strive to understand before acting.

→ HCDE researchers in the Center for Engineering Learning & Teaching are studying how the act of reflection — giving meaning to prior experiences and determining how that meaning will guide future actions — can enhance learning and better prepare students as adaptive, broad-thinking problem-solvers.


We centralize the needs of those who are often marginalized. We work to create environments and practices that are open and safe for all participants and perspectives from all social identities.

→ In HCDE's Tactile and Tactical Design (TAT) Lab, researchers are exploring the invisible work that went into assembling core memory, an early form of computer information storage initially handwoven by women. This project aims to broaden our understanding of who counts as a designer and what counts as a design practice.


We celebrate innovation, iteration, and reflection using interdisciplinary methods and perspectives. As we strive toward excellence, we take acceptable risks and learn from mistakes. We seek opportunities for collaborative exploration.

→ Researchers at the HCDE’s Center for Collaborative Systems for Security (CoSSaR) are creating a cloud-based virtual coordination center that will allow police, fire, and traffic managers to share real-time data about what is happening on the roadways. This will enable data-driven traffic management coordination and increase the effectiveness of interagency operations.


We are action-oriented toward challenges while continually questioning and improving. We continue to follow and study the repercussions of our actions so that they maximize the possible benefits while anticipating and minimizing possible harms.

→ While digital and social media enable new forms of engagement, they also create space for misinformation and disinformation to spread. By focusing on specific events that bring people together on a large scale, researchers in HCDE's Emerging Capacities of Mass Participation(emCOMP) Laboratory are studying how rumors, misinformation, and disinformation spread online during crisis events.