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WELL 29 — Design Your Departure: A Creative Approach to End-of-Life Planning

Quarter: Summer
Instructor(s): Annie Valdes, Ka Yun Cheng
Duration: 6 weeks
Format/Location: On-campus
Date(s): Jul 8—Aug 12
Class Recording Available: No
Class Meeting Day: Mondays
Grade Restriction: No letter grade
Class Meeting Time: 6:30—8:20 pm (PT)
Tuition: $405
   
Refund Deadline: Jul 10
 
Unit(s): 1
   
Status: Open
 
Quarter: Summer
Day: Mondays
Duration: 6 weeks
Time: 6:30—8:20 pm (PT)
Date(s): Jul 8—Aug 12
Unit(s): 1
Format/Location: On-campus
 
Tuition: $405
 
Refund Deadline: Jul 10
 
Instructor(s): Annie Valdes, Ka Yun Cheng
 
Grade Restriction: No letter grade
 
Recording Available: No
 
Status: Open
 
In a society where discussions about death often remain taboo, this course invites you to use design strategy to approach the inevitable with creativity, intentionality, and curiosity. Our approach is proactive. We will take you beyond legal documents like wills and trusts to help you model a comprehensive end-of-life plan that reflects your values and preferences. What kind of legacy projects have you considered? Perhaps a memoir? How will you emphasize the importance of values, principles, and life lessons you wish to pass on to your loved ones? How about an actionable “bucket list” of specific desires for experiences or accomplishments you want to achieve before you go? Through a combination of small- and large-group discussions, individual reflection exercises, and creative expression designed to be accessible and enjoyable, this course will equip you with tools and insights to navigate end-of-life planning with clarity, purpose, and peace of mind. We will engage in guided, interactive activities to deepen your understanding of personal values, document preferences for your final moments, and establish a plan for communicating your wishes to those who matter most. We will also examine common pitfalls to avoid and considerations for your digital afterlife.

While this course is designed for those who have not yet completed their end-of-life planning, it is open to any individual seeking guidance on accepting the inevitability of death, providing support to loved ones nearing the end of their lives, or interested in understanding and preparing for end-of-life matters.

ANNIE VALDES
Certified Professional Co-Active Coach; Life and Death Design Coach

Annie Valdes has spent 20 years working in human-centered design as a design researcher, strategist, educator, and project and program lead, including a decade at IDEO. She has previously taught in the Stanford Continuing Studies Program, teaching “Design Execution: Bringing Ideas to Life.” At her firm, Design Tugboat, she specializes in helping individuals gain new perspectives and take action, whether they’re navigating life changes or facing death. Valdes is a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach and an INELDA-trained end-of-life doula. She received an MBA from Georgia State.

KA YUN CHENG
End-of-Life Doula

Ka Yun Cheng's professional background includes 15 years of supporting and operationalizing research practices across academia, design consultancies (including IDEO), tech, and education. As an INELDA-trained end-of-life doula and certified mediator, she provides logistical and emotional support to help people with end-of-life planning. She received an MA from San Francisco State.

Textbooks for this course:

There are no required textbooks; however, some fee-based online readings may be assigned.