Visual Bio + On Snow Coaches as Designers

November 5, 2014

Getting ready for the 90 Minute Design Challenge with the on-snow staff this morning, it hit me that it was a good time for a visual bio.   After 22 years of teaching English, books are getting replaced with sticky notes, surveys, and generative graphic organizers. But, all the years of seeing the world from another point of view, understanding another setting,  considering point of view, valuing the messy generative, considering purpose and audience, and getting to thesis and evidence makes me realize Garrison Kellior is right on about the MA in English literature. photo


Mark Godomsky asked me work with the on-snow coaches  and consider their on campus working space in the basement of Holden. The design thinking process, he thought, was a good way to get all the voices in the room and to see patterns, needs, and solutions.  For me, this was a  tipping point in the culture of Gould: design thinking, a relatively unknown term last year, was starting to get some traction.

We planned a 60 minute design challenge which turned into  120 minute session.   The session started with identifying patterns in a survey filled out by the coaches, identifying themes from the patterns, taking field notes, and then working in small groups to generate blueprints.


Team Molly, Simard, Nellis photo-2


Design thinking is like a Socratic Circle: full participation based on listening, building on the ideas of others,  asking clarifying questions, and working collaboratively.

Gould is lucky to have a program that works to integrate diverse and  high level athletic experience with high level academics and all with a healthy sense of play and purpose.  Having the  on snow coaches on campus is a good idea: a win for athletes, classroom teachers, admissions,  and families. After today is it CLEAR they need a space that shows the passion and inspiration they bring to work each day.

Do you have a  sense of what you would like to see in the on snow offices in Holden or have seen an awesome coach environment? Share the idea by commenting back.


5 Responses

  1. Avatar Tedd Brown says:

    What are the dimensions of the room? Will office have it’s own entrance from the outside? What will the space be used for? When will it be used? Who will use it the most?

    • Avatar Sara says:

      The room is the whole span of the vortex and has the familiar traffic patterns of the vortex as you and I recall. Right now coaches use it, but the hope is that coaches + athletes will use it.

      • Avatar Tedd Brown says:

        Okay–It used to be carpeted and now it is tile of some sort….not exactly inviting. I think a new type floor treatment would be quieter and make for a better experience there. Please keep the fireplace as it too is inviting. Warmer color for wall paint and must. Also, it there a budget in mind? Would it be too much to ask for a separate entrance from the outside….down the incline and into the big room? (less noise in Holden Dorm stairwell)

  2. sara shifrin sara shifrin says:

    Great ideas, Tedd. Next time you are on campus let’s look at the space together. You are a designer and have a good sense of how the space flows.

  3. […] ranging from Ms. Shifrin helping the On-Snow Coaching Team with a Design-Thinking Challenge in the IDEAS Blog to 12th grader Skye F.’s recount of Mr. Catlin burning the midnight oil with select seniors […]

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