College of LAS « Illinois

About the LAS Life + Career Design Initiative

Life + Career Design Lab

The LAS Life + Career Design Initiative is a framework to help students make sense of and enrich their degree programs to prepare for life after graduation. Our work offers students opportunities to imagine, engage, and connect their learning experiences.

We teach design thinking to assist students in preparing for their lives and careers after graduation. Design thinking is a method used to solve complex problems and create new ideas combining concepts such as:

  • inquiry, empathy, and points of view
  • creating ideas and making prototypes
  • testing, engaging, and reflecting

The Life + Career Design Lab is the hub for the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences' students. Here, they map how they'll maximize their time on campus to ensure a clear next step upon graduation.

We encourage LAS undergraduates, advisors, and faculty to learn more about career development in a rapidly changing, technology-driven, diverse and global society. Professional specialists and peer advisors assist in helping students find their way through the multiple academic, co-curricular, extracurricular, and professional opportunities available for their learning and career preparation.

Our philosophy:

  • All undergraduates are unique in their interests, education, experiences, motivations, and life goals. We believe it's important for students to develop the mindsets and skills for navigating many opportunities to maximize their growth and impact on their communities. We do this by using design-thinking methods to create life and career maps.
  • We believe there are multiple ways to achieve life and career success, and we work with students to envision multiple scenarios that are right for them.
  • We believe curiosity is a catalyst for growth. We inspire curiosity through active inquiry of self, others, challenges, and opportunities.
  • We believe that students need to have a range of experiences both in the classroom and beyond to determine what they'll do after graduation. We inspire students to engage with opportunities and reflect on how they fit into their life and career maps.
  • We believe in the power of the narrative. We assist students in creating their personal stories—retrospective and prospective—based on their experiences and reflections. We guide students to create a narrative around their academic, personal, and professional experiences to help them find new opportunities for growth and career success.
  • We understand that navigating and integrating into new environments requires skill. We help students acquire the skills to transition to campus (for example, in our LAS 101 orientation class), to new cultures (in LAS 291 and 292, our global perspectives classes), to leadership roles (in LAS 399, Leadership and Professional Development), to professional workplaces, and to post-graduation next steps. We help them map out how opportunities at Illinois and in other new environments can expand their knowledge, skill, and worldview.The lab offers classes and workshops to help students develop these skills.