“Students come to invent a career, not to enter a profession.”—Dan O’Sullivan

Dan O’Sullivan: Chair, Interactive Telecommunications Program / NYU

“students come to invent a career, not to enter a profession.”—dan o’sullivan

How can we engineer interactive tools that actually facilitate collaborative processes in design creativity?
Online tools have their strengths, like freeing up more time, but I would say a bigger impulse has been trying to reclaim and manage our mental diet from the constant opportunities for interaction, mostly on the smart phone. This has especially highlighted the need for physical interaction and quality collaboration. For instance, in flipped classrooms, digital tools can scale the lecture of a professor, leaving more time for activities that don’t scale, like talking about student projects.

What does ITP seek in selecting a student for this program? Why do students enroll?
Because of the importance of interdisciplinary study in creating new ideas, we look for diversity. Anything that makes students look at things differently, (including differences in nationality, discipline, gender, or personality) works well. I think we especially need to create more socioeconomic diversity. Students enroll because they believe that things could be better. We do not point to anything that exists as an outcome of the program. Students come to invent a career, not to enter a profession.

How do varied interdisciplinary skills and outsider perspectives aid collaboration?
They don’t. Working with people who are different from you is very difficult. Staying focused on the results is what aids collaboration.

How do students design their curricula based off of an extensive course listing?
Students have about 70 classes to choose from. Our curriculum is mostly electives. When students are no longer interested in a class, it falls away. A quarter of our classes are new every year. Thursday nights are reserved for graduated students to teach the classes they wish we had.