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Sustainable Product Design

Sustainable Product Design and Innovation

How are new consumer products designed? KSC’s program approaches the artistic, scientific, and technical aspects from a viewpoint that values sustainability and sound business practices. Hands-on, project-based learning gives students the tools and experience for jobs in this fast-moving environment.

Toward a More Sustainable Future

To move us toward a more sustainable future, our world needs creative change-makers, confident and competent in their design thinking practices and grounded in a framework of sustainability principles to guide their decisions. The Sustainable Product Design and Innovation (SPDI) program was designed to integrate product design methodologies, cutting-edge technologies and hands-on model and prototype building within the context of business enterprise and the liberal arts.

As a SPDI major, you will navigate the design process, relying on your understanding of sustainability and your collaborations within interdisciplinary teams, as you bring forth your own unique solutions to improve our lives on this planet. Faculty mentors orient you to our 53,000-square-foot educational facility, the Technology Design and Safety (TDS) Center, a net-zero-energy-ready building eligible for LEED platinum certification. There you will learn to propel your initial concepts through a multitude of design iterations using state-of-the-art CAD/CAM software, digital manufacturing technologies (3D printing) and challenging model/prototype construction. You will experience and understand how things are made and the manufacturing processes involved in producing them so you can design durable products, minimize waste, consider the work experience of the makers and create economically-viable products. Your cross-disciplinary studies in management, marketing, operations management and safety will be woven together in capstone courses in product design and manufacturing enterprise.

Along the way you will test your tenacity and build your capacity to see a project through to a successful solution. By the time you present your body of work at SPDI Senior Portfolio night, you will understand the “big picture” of manufacturing design’s place in the world and how you will fit in and make your contributions to a sustainable 21st century.

Our Learning Community

Internships & career opportunities

Metal Vice

  • Product Design and Development
  • Engineering Technology
  • CADD Design
  • CADD/CAM technology (including jigs and fixture design)
  • EHS Support (Environmental Health and Safety)
  • Quality Assurance
  • Materials and Process Research
  • Manufacturing Support
  • CNC Operation
  • Product Installation
  • Technical Sales
  • Design and Manufacturing Start-ups

The 2013 senior class presented its portfolios to members of our campus leadership, the SPDI Advisory Council and recent SPDI alumni. As a result, several graduating seniors were invited to job interviews and hired for career-entry positions. Most graduating seniors have found meaningful employment, largely based on internships that became full-time job offers.

As the only industrial design and manufacturing engineering technology-oriented program within the State, the SPDI program has been a magnet for both incoming and previously matriculated, but undecided students. SPDI courses have also served the Regional Center for Advanced Manufacturing (RCAM) initiative reaching many students, directly from industry, who are continuing along their educational pathways through many of the various courses offered by RCAM’s three educational partners.

Many SPDI students have attained national proficiency certifications, providing clear evidence they have acquired much sought after skills using SolidWorks, our primary 3D CADD modeling and design tool. For example, two students were selected to showcase their work at the Council of Public Liberal Arts College Annual Conference in 2013.

Students and Alumni

Johnny Westphal

"I finished that class project feeling confident I could introduce my experience into a legitimate backpack line."
– Johnny Westphal, 2013

In his free time, Johnny Westphal can be seen biking, hiking or rock climbing. His love of all things outdoors gave him the idea to create a backpack for his Product Design 3 course. "It’s really a fundamental approach to the product design life cycle," he said. "There’s an emphasis on process, on developing an idea and communicating it through all aspects - brainstorming, research, sketching, CAD modeling, machining, sewing, prototyping, testing."

The process he used for his Capstone project is similar to that in a professional setting. Westphal hopes to get a job in the outdoor products industry.

"I finished that class project feeling confident I could introduce my experience into a legitimate backpack line," he said.

More about Students and Alumni


Technology, Design & Safety Center Technology, Design & Safety Center

This state-of-the art facility is designed to support learning, while serving as a model for sustainability. Learn More

SPDI faculty members are continuing to work with the college and statewide Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) initiative. Regional educators gathered in our project-based-learning classroom for a STEM Problem-Based Learning (PBL) workshop in collaboration with the New England Board of Higher Education’s National Science Foundation funded PBL grant initiative. More about Faculty


Go STEM Inspires the Scientist in Middle School Girls
Education and Experience Land Keene State Grad a Job
Three Keene State Students Awarded Manufacturing Partners’ Scholarships
Curtis Butler ’15, Recycling Industrial Wastewater
Keene State’s Sustainable Product Design Class Goes Home for the Holidays

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Sustainable Product Design and Innovation
Deb Williams
Administrative Assistant

Admissions Office
229 Main Street
Keene, New Hampshire 03435