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An Interview with Larry Burditt, Central Michigan University
April 13, 2016
With the near continuous development of 3D printing, we are seeing more schools choosing to make investments in the technology to varying degrees. Some schools such as SUNY New Paltz, Xavier University, UMass Amherst, the University of Maryland, and Florida Polytechnic among others have made large investments by bringing full-scale MakerBot Innovation Centers to their respective campuses to provide this amazing technology to their campus communities. Central Michigan University, as we have learned, has also made the decision to establish an innovation center on their campus. Through a partnership between multiple campus units, the university opened the doors on the technology back in October 2015. We reached out to the university and were granted an interview with one of the key people involved in the process, Mr. Larry Burditt, the department chair in Art and Design. The interview was conducted via email and our questions with his answers appear below:
1) What prompted you to look into becoming a MakerBot 3D Innovation Center? Had anyone among the staff and faculty had experience with other 3D printers or 3D design?
We worked with an early low-end 3D printer but found it’s reliability was too low. In an information search we found the MakerBot was highly rated and worked our way to the innovation center from that beginning.
2) What types of reactions have you had across campus since the Innovation Center got up and running?
3) What has been done to promote its existence and technology? Have you begun any cross-campus partnerships since its inception both on campus or out in the community?
4) Who all is able to take advantage of having this type of resource on campus? Is it limited to students taking courses or pursuing degrees in the studio/fine arts?
5) What impact do you think it has had on the education of your students? Does it give your students a competitive edge over those from other schools?
6) In as much as you can comment, how integral was the administration of the university in getting this done and getting it funded? Was any of this the result of a grant application?
7) How have the first several months gone? What have been the biggest challenges presented and how have they been overcome or handled? What have been the biggest surprises, if any?
8) What advice, if any, would you give to another dean, professor, or art studio who is interested in beginning an Innovation Center into their fold?
9) What are some of the long-term goals of the Department of Art and Design as it relates to both 3D printing and education in general?
10) What materials/filament are you printing with, and what are some of the products you have printed that you are most proud of since the inception of the Innovation Center?