Stephanie Tharp, Associate Professor in Art and Design

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Stephanie Tharp received a master of industrial design degree from the Rhode Island School of Design, and a bachelor of mechanical engineering from the University of Michigan.

She was Associate Professor and Program Chair of Industrial Design at the University of Illinois at Chicago’s School of Design, and has work experience with Ford Motor Company, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Armstrong Industries, and

With her husband, Bruce, she presently runs Materious, a design studio that produces commercial and speculative products. Tharp is the recipient of several design awards including Future Furniture Competition Winner from Interior Design Magazine, and Best in Show from Design Within Reach’s Modern+Design+Function Chicago Furniture Now Competition. Below are some things you might not know about her.

Q: How did you wind up on the faculty at the University of Michigan?

A: I saw an online posting in 2013 that the STAMPS School of Art & Design was hiring. Being a Michigan alum, I have always had a sweet spot for Ann Arbor. I decided to apply… 

Q:  What do you consider to be the highlight of your career thus far?

A: Personal highlights for me are hearing from my former students. I love getting hand-written notes (emails are good, too) about the impact that a course has had on their career or personal development.  

Q:  What's your next goal? How will you achieve it?

A: My next goal is to publish a book, which has been in progress for quite some time. I will be spending the summer very focused on finishing this up in 2016!

Q:  In what ways do your students surprise you?

A: I love their insight, creativity, passion, curiosity, and desire to make the world a better place.  

Q:  What are you passionate about, personally and professionally?

A: I also hope to contribute to making the world a better place to be. 

Q:  What was the highlight of the Integrated Product Development (IPD) course this year, and was it what you expected?

A: I am a process person, so for me a highlight was working with the students throughout the semester, and seeing them all work really well together to develop their ideas. I did have high expectations, and in the end we received very positive feedback about the projects, so I believe that it did live up to expectations — in both the process and the final products. 

Q:  Also, what was it like teaching such an iconic course? 
A: It was an honor to teach IPD at Michigan. I am well aware of the long history of this program, and was thrilled to be asked to co-teach it this year. We definitely felt the pressure to deliver good results

Read about the 2016 IPD Challenge: One-Handed Household Device
Specific IPD results can be viewed here.
View photos from the On-Campus Trade Show

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Stephanie Tharp, associate professor, STAMPS School of Art & Design, Gunalan Nadarajan, Dean, STAMPS School of Art & Design, Eric Svaan, Lecturer of Technology and Operations, Ross School of Business
The 2016 IPD class pose with Stephanie Tharp, associate professor, STAMPS School of Art & Design at the University of Michigan