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Laura Murphy

Laura Murphy, Ph.D., Associate Director, Research & Scholarship, leads research, applied evaluation and design education strategy for Taylor. Dr. Murphy has promoted awareness and understanding of human-centered design for changemaking for the Taylor community since 2011, when she was one of the inaugural endowed, “Social Entrepreneurship Professors.” In that capacity over several years, she developed several original initiatives now part of Taylor, including the Social Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship (SISE) minor, the SISE 3010 Design Thinking course, SISE 4050 Senior Seminar course, and the signature “Fast 48” weekend boot camp and related SISE 6100 course for graduate students. With design thinking student fellows, she launched the “DT & Donuts” series of introductory workshops for the public. Murphy has also offered custom training for organizations including the Advising Center and the Young African Leaders Institute (YALI) and global health scholars and NGOs.

Dr. Murphy will amplify and communicate these activities as director of research and scholarship and in the implementation of the Taylor Forward strategic plan.

Dr. Murphy has a faculty appointment in Global Community Health and Behavioral Sciences (GCHB), where she teaches on critical development theory. She is also affiliated with the Stone Center for Latin American Studies at Tulane, offering research methods workshops. Her practice and scholarly research have explored themes of appropriate technology, community development and livelihoods, population-environment relationships, and socio-technical change. She has lived and worked in rural villages and urban areas of Indonesia, Ecuador, and Kenya and other countries since the 1980s. Her research has been funded by the MacArthur Foundation, the Hewlett Foundation, the National Science Foundation (NSF), and others. Her current Design Capabilities project elaborates a complexity-aware theoretical framing for problem solving, integrating the capabilities approach and human-centered, creative, and collaborative approaches.

Her formal degrees include a B.S. in mechanical engineering from Stanford and a PhD in City and regional planning from UNC-Chapel Hill.

Fall Courses: SISE 6100 Social Innovation Toolkit for Graduate Students

Murphy held the Carnegie Corporation of New York Professorship in Social Entrepreneurship from 2011-2016.

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