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Doreen Lorenzo Speaks at SXSW on Preparing Students for the Future Economy

Doreen Lorenzo, Assistant Dean of the School of Design and Creative Technologies at the University of Texas, spoke at SXSW about problem-solving in the workplace.

Doreen reflected on her time working at companies and as a board member and how this led to an interest in education and teaching students how to make mistakes. Doreen mentioned the difficulty recent graduates have had when trying to join the workplace and the strategy the University of Texas is taking to exist beyond the campus in Austin, Texas.

She emphasized that we have to look at how universities and business are funded to implement change. From a higher education point of view, she doesn’t just want graduates to be good at what they do but to understand how to match the pace of the current market. Doreen mentioned her work in establishing a 19-credit certificate in design strategies from different schools within the university including the business, liberal arts, and communication schools. The goal of the program was to prepare the new looming creative economy.

Creativity is a skill that will never be replaced, and Doreen emphasized this throughout her speech. She told the story about a program she organized in Fall 2017 where a group of select students went to the IBM Austin campus and were given problems that the business was tackling. This real-world experience gave the students true experiential learning.

Due to the ever-changing world we live in, Doreen believes we need to constantly cater course curriculum for Universities to better prepare the graduates of higher education institutions.

Doreen explained that to enhance students collaborativeness, you must immerse them in their peers’ interests. She taught students a 5 week “sketching for communication” course to better facilitate conversations between classmates and teachers.  

Doreen finished her speech by saying that higher education owes it to their students to teach them in a different way than we have been taught in the past to change the narrative for these graduates.


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