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Invited Speakers

Justin Ahrens

Justin Ahrens is principal and creative director at Rule29. His passion for design is rooted in his creative firm’s commitment to “making creative matter  ® .” For more than 10 years, Ahrens has led Rule29 in its commitment to both great design and helping others think differently about the world around them. Through a collaborative approach in both strategy and design, Rule29’s culture is just as important as its work. This is particularly evident by the company’s involvement in numerous social causes, including their substantial work in Africa. Ahrens has also been a consistent voice for the creative community as it relates to balancing life, design and business. His obsession for creativity is only overshadowed by his passion for being home with his wife, Sarah, and their four amazing kids (who think Dad’s job is listening to music, drawing pictures and playing on the computer). Ahrens’ book, Life Kerning: Creative Ways to Fine Tune Your Perspective on Career and Life is available at  or on Amazon.


Justin Ahrens Keynote Spech

Kyle Whyte

Kyle Whyte, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Michigan State University and affiliated faculty for Peace and Justice Studies, Environmental Science and Policy, the Center for Regional Food Systems, Animal Studies and American Indian Studies. He is an enrolled member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation in Shawnee, Oklahoma. Dr. Whyte writes on environmental justice, the philosophy of technology and American Indian philosophy. His most recent research addresses moral and political issues concerning climate change impacts on Indigenous peoples. His articles have appeared in journals such as Climatic Change, Ecological Processes, Synthese, Human Ecology, Journal of Global Ethics, American Journal of Bioethics, Journal of Agricultural & Environmental Ethics, Philosophy & Technology, Ethics, Policy & Environment, Environmental Justice, and Continental Philosophy Review. His research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Spencer Foundation. He is a member of the American Philosophical Association Committee on Public Philosophy, Michigan Environmental Justice Coalition, and volunteer for the annual Growing Our Food System conference in Lansing, Michigan.


An Experiential Game Theoretical Pedagogy 2012 Online First
The Importance of Participatory Virtues for the Future of Environmental Education


Grand Rapids Art Museum (GRAM)

The Grand Rapids Art Museum (GRAM) will be presenting a session on Design Thinking at the 2013 TLI event. The museum will talk about the benefit of collaboration how to discover ne ways to analyze works of art through the eyes of a designer and more.  This session will be facilitated by Christopher Bruce, School Programs Coordinator at the Grand Rapids Art Museum. Christopher will be sharing his engaging, hands on approach to exploring a design thinking process to the higher education classroom.


Design Thinking Introduction