[Pedagogy-list] OpEd: Education is not preparing students for a fast-changing world

Hocutt, Daniel dhocutt at richmond.edu
Wed Sep 26 10:26:33 EDT 2018

This Boston Globe column<https://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2018/09/12/education-not-preparing-students-for-fast-changing-world/96vTGowaDypumwyLtPtLjP/story.html>, written by Ann Kirschner, university professor at the City University of New York and dean emerita of Macaulay Honors College at CUNY; and Dana Born, codirector for the Center for Public Leadership at Harvard Kennedy School of Government and professor emerita and former dean of the United States Air Force Academy, offers insight into what the authors lament is a graduation gap, an employment gap, and a skills gap in the U.S. system of education:

Today’s students need to prepare themselves for job descriptions yet unwritten. In the VUCA environment [“VUCA stands for ‘volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous,’ a handy shortcut used by the military to describe these uncertain times], there is no robot-proof major. Instead, students need to steer a course between “Will” and “Watson,” between the humanities and social sciences (as represented by William Shakespeare) and computational thinking and STEM fields (as represented by IBM Watson). This is not merely our wishful cheerleading for literature and history. The skills they foster — critical thinking, clear communications, empathy, and self-awareness — are what employers consistently promote as essential characteristics for job candidates.

But the ultimate skill is the ability to learn how to learn. The goal of continuous, lifelong learning is implicit in everything that happens in education. We need to make it explicit and intentional and respected as the most important preparation for an uncertain world. That readiness for a lifetime of learning is the “mission accomplished” of education. (emphasis added)

How do we in SPCS teach adult and nontraditional students the skill of learning how to learn? What frameworks, strategies, and professional development opportunities do we need to make this happen at UR? Share what you’re thinking — it’ll help shape the direction of this Community of Practice and will provide a roadmap for the rest of the school and university to follow.


Daniel L. Hocutt, R’92 & G’98
Web Manager & Adjunct Professor
School of Professional & Continuing Studies
Special Programs Building 215
University of Richmond, VA 23173
o. (804) 287-6658 f. (804) 289-8138
dhocutt at richmond.edu<mailto:dhocutt at richmond.edu>

Community Coordinator,
SPCS Pedagogy Community of Practice<http://blog.richmond.edu/pedagogy>

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