Celebrating Bjoern Hartmann’s Legacy as Faculty Director of the Jacobs Institute for Design Innovation at UC Berkeley

June 2, 2023 | 2:49 pm

Bjoern Hartmann, Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences, is stepping down from service as the Faculty Director of the Jacobs Institute for Design Innovation at UC Berkeley.

Bjoern assumed the role of Faculty Director of the Jacobs Institute in 2016, less than a year after its inception. Under Bjoern’s guidance, Berkeley’s Jacobs Institute has evolved into a thriving and globally-recognized center for hands-on, human-centered design education

During his tenure at Jacobs, Bjoern cultivated collaborations and partnerships across campus, industry and the broader educational community. Early on, Bjoern attracted courses from a number of departments, including Computer Science, Mechanical Engineering and the School of Information to Jacobs Hall, realizing the vision of Jacobs Institute as a campus hub for interdisciplinary learning. Bjoern helped lead the  Higher Education Makerspace Initiative, a collaborative effort from leading universities focused on solving the challenges of academic makerspaces and making their combined learnings available to others. He also co-developed important educational collaborations with industry leaders such as Ford Motor Company and BMW, providing students with valuable exposure to emerging technologies and real world design challenges.

Under Bjoern’s direction, the Jacobs Institute launched multiple academic and co-curricular programs, including the undergraduate Berkeley Certificate for Design Innovation, the Innovation Catalyst grant program, Berkeley Engineering Design Scholars summer research fellowship, as well as the Berkeley Master of Design professional graduate program.

Bjoern has served as foundational faculty leader of the Jacobs Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee, recruiting valuable faculty leadership to the committee, and ensuring that DEI values underpin Jacobs Institute practices in programming, staffing and student recruitment.

When Jacobs Hall closed during COVID-19, Bjoern led a pivot to the development of new online services (the Jacobs Project Support system) that enabled students to leverage digital design and produce work remotely—a system so successful in scaling student productivity that it has evolved into a central offering of the Jacobs Makerspace.

As a Jacobs Institute instructor, Bjoern has co-developed some of the most sought-after design courses on the Berkeley campus, including User Interface Design and Development, Immersive Computing and Virtual Reality, Debates in Design, Designing Technology to Counter Violent Extremism, and Interactive Device Design. Bjoern has also sponsored many student-led DeCal DES INV courses, and helped establish Jacobs as a home and supporter for over 40 student clubs.

Although Bjoern is stepping back from the director responsibilities, he will remain engaged at Jacobs as an instructor, as well as a member of the Jacobs Affiliated Faculty.  At a recent celebration of his Faculty Director tenure, Bjoern shared that he is excited to be able to devote more time to his research in Human-Computer Interaction, and to his family and two children.

On behalf of the Jacobs Institute community, we extend our deepest gratitude to Bjoern for his thoughtful and exceptional leadership, and countless contributions to the Jacobs Institute for Design Innovation. Thank you, Bjoern! 

A peek into Bjoern Hartmann's time as Faculty Director at Jacobs Institute for Design Innovation

A few views into Bjoern Hartmann’s service as Faculty Director at Jacobs Institute for Design Innovation