Future of Learning Top Reads for week of July 22 2019

“Hampshire College's New President Says School Must Transform Higher Education, Again,” by Nancy Eve Cohen, on nepr.net (New England Public Radio)

“[President Ed Wingenbach] said Hampshire's uniqueness has somewhat eroded as other colleges have adopted similar student-designed programs, but he said the school can succeed.

" ‘By becoming distinctive again,’ said Wingenbach, ‘and inventing, again, the new ways to think about undergraduate education, and implementing them and doing them well, we'll restore the rightful distinctiveness of Hampshire College.’ ”

Why does this matter to the future of learning?

Hampshire opened in 1970 as an alternative to the traditional college model. Some of its distinguishing features are project-based learning, narrative feedback (vs grades), and portfolios of work rather than course requirements.

Sound familiar? Many schools are experimenting with the same. To “become distinctive again,” as Wingenbach hopes, Hampshire will need to compete on more than just innovative features.

As we often discuss with clients, schools need to envision the space where their mission overlaps with market needs (or direction).

Almost anyone can compete on the basis of WHAT you do.

Very few can compete on the basis of WHY you do WHAT you do (and then, as you get better and better at it, HOW you do it).


“There’s No Insurance Against Disruption,” by Mike Prokopeak, Chief Learning Officer Magazine, June 2019 issue (print only)

“The actuaries, accountants, and number crunchers in at Columbus, Ohio-based Nationwide Insurance have come to a conclusion—one that many others in business should listen to. In the face of widespread change, it’s more risky to do nothing.”

Why does this matter to the future of learning?

Chief Learning Officer Magazine may not be your go-to source of insights about the future of learning, but we see corporate learning and development efforts as leading indicators for schools.

Of note: “Nationwide’s Talent and Culture Council is integrated into the governance structure of the company and accountable to CEO Steve Rasmussen and the board of directors.”

Given that culture = strategy, imagine if your school had a mechanism to integrate talent and culture into governance? As with all governance, success would be a function of the Board’s health and its relationship to the Head of School. That said, few things would signal with greater seriousness a school’s commitment to evolution (dare we say transformation) than a Board-and-Head-of-School-aligned commitment to nurturing an aspirational culture.


Question of the week:

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Christian Talbot