Universities, created as an assembly of experts in 1088, are as outdated as buggy whips. The cost and rewards of a college education are increasingly under attack. To sustain great universities requires cultural transformation consisting of 5 Steps:
The 21st century transformation of education is profoundly emotional, but why is “emotion” such an uncomfortable subject?:
The idea that we might acknowledge emotion directly in education runs up agains a taboo for men (in many cultures). From an early age, men are urged to suppress their unhappiness, sadness, or other negative emotion that leads to the emotional display of crying. Sometimes this is done with understanding and concern, but oftentimes boys are shamed if they do cry, and the shame continues until they stop.
Read more, here.
Misunderstandings about what it means to be an engineer are outlined in James Trevelyan’s “The Making of an Expert Engineer”— a book based on extensive studies of several hundred engineers in four countries, several of them true experts in their own domains.
An unfortunate reality exposed by this research is that engineering education has become almost completely divorced from practice:
The separation of practice from the curriculum allows students to develop many misunderstandings, partly because real stories about practice are absent, and partly because of myths that are repeated without being questioned or critically examined.
Learn more about these misconceptions, here.
There’s a new piece up on Huffington Post here called Below the Waterline: A Deep Dive to Rethink Engineering Education. This pieces discusses the ways that education concentrates on particular facts and figures and processes (above the waterline), but neglects deeper issues of reflection and learning (below the waterline):
Focusing above the waterline and filling young minds with known facts and knowledge used to be sufficient for engineering education. In the past, engineers were category enhancers, making existing products and technologies faster, better, and more efficient, so mastery of the known used to be enough. Today, however, engineers do so much more. They are no longer category enhancers; they are category creators, bringing to fruition things that don’t yet exist. As such, because we don’t know what future solutions will be needed, we can’t merely pour existing knowledge into students’ heads, hoping that this will be enough; rather, we need to educate deep, lifelong learners so they can adapt, create, innovate, and lead the world to a better future.
Mark Somerville (Olin College) and my article on Huffington Post on Ten Steps to a Whole New Engineer and a Whole New Engineering Education just was published on Huffington Post (here). For example, step 10 says the following:
Step 10: Band all stakeholders together coordinate effective action and collaboratively disrupt the status quo. To date, education reform has largely been a school-by-school or even classroom-by-classroom attempt to bring about local change, and oftentimes schools or departments carefully guard their innovations as giving their unit a competitive advantage. Unfortunately, the real competitor here is not the university down the road. The real competitor is an educational system and cultural forces that preserve a 60-year old engineering curriculum that is demoralizing prospective engineers while or even before they come to school. Even when change efforts aren’t viewed in this competitive way, schools have had difficulty coordinating, diffusing, and sustaining the results throughout their own institutions and to others.