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What is DIVE?


DIVE (Design as an Immersive Vanderbilt Experience) is a program at Vanderbilt University that will teach human-centered design thinking to students so that they may solve complex, real-world problems, develop critical thinking skills, and work in multidisciplinary teams during an immersive, mentored project.

What is human-centered design?

Human-centered design teaches highly transferable problem-solving skills, with the ultimate goal of advancing the human condition. It begins with observing the end user, continues to brainstorming, and uses prototyping and testing to produce a solution. DIVE will provide a place for students to learn the five steps of human-centered design: empathize, define, ideate, prototype, and test. Participants will use this iterative process to propose solutions to needs on the Vanderbilt campus, at the Vanderbilt Medical Center, and in the surrounding community.


Design thinking process from Stanford's Hasso Plattner Institute of Design

How can I participate?

Whether you want to learn more about design thinking in an intensive boot camp, or you want to go “all in” and participate in design thinking courses and projects, there’s a DIVE experience that’s right for you:


Undergraduate students, graduate and professional students, staff, and faculty may all participate in the DIVE Boot Camps. Offered several times per semester, these Boot Camps give you the opportunity to explore human-centered design and experiment with the knowledge you have gained. Undergraduate students may continue advancing their expertise in human-centered design by completing an additional Deep DIVE experience.

Undergraduate students, regardless of their major discipline or home school, may participate in any of the three Deep DIVE experiences.


Deep DIVE Experiences








What are examples of design challenges?

Project teams will address broad ranging questions, such as: 

  • “How do we improve the refugee experience in Nashville?”
  • “How do we increase glass recycling in downtown Nashville?”
  • “How do we improve the patient comfort experience before surgery?”
  • “How do we improve the progression of juveniles through the justice system?”
  • “How do we decrease the number of food deserts?”
  • “How do we increase access to equitable education?”


Want to learn more? 

What is the objective of DIVE?

  • to provide broad campus exposure to human-centered design
  • to provide positive solutions to community partners
  • to provide interdisciplinary interactions
  • to provide a useful mechanism for students to participate in Immersion Vanderbilt

What is the Quality Enhancement Plan?

In addition to its utility on campus, DIVE also serves as the university's Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP). Visit the Academic Strategic Plan page to learn more about this critical component of Vanderbilt's reaffirmation of accreditation.


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