Peter Scupelli


parent-spouse, brother-son, designer-researcher, yogi-cyclist, mystic, climate-change-activist.

Peter Scupelli is the Nierenberg Associate Professor in Design, and Director of the Learning Environments Lab. Peter’s current research focus is on learning environments. He teaches both undergraduate and graduate-level courses. Peter’s training and career path link architecture, interaction design, and human-computer interaction research. He holds a Ph.D. and M.S. in Human-Computer Interaction, M.Des. in Interaction Design, and an undergraduate Architecture degree. His work with A12 was exhibited in the Architecture Biennial of Venice, PS1 MOMA, New York, the São Paulo Contemporary Art Biennial, the ZKM Museum of Karlsruhe, Germany and other places. To learn more about his research see the Learning Environments Lab.

Teaching philosophy

My teaching philosophy is based on four values that shape the ethos of Carnegie Mellon University. I ask students to:

  • First, work on problems that have a practical impact in the world. Engaging practical problems shapes the future.
  • Second, work hard on something they care about, but also have fun with it. Enjoying one’s challenges is a recipe for a fulfilling career.
  • Third, to try new things, and learn to do them well. New challenges and pride in one’s work make one comfortable with the accelerating rate of change in the world and design practice.
  • Fourth, to learn to work productively with people from different disciplines and perspectives. New perspectives allow students to create innovative solutions and develop new knowledge.

My role in the classroom is to create a safe and exciting environment where students can take risks on their projects. I teach design methods, design skills, and design strategies necessary to complete projects successfully, sharing my experience and expertise in ways I know will help improve student projects. During critiques, I take a deep interest in the students’ work. For each project, I explain what I see working, what needs to be resolved, and possible paths forward; I am more interested in engaging students in conversations about their work than directing them to my solution, but am insistent on seeing progress.

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