Future of Higher Education Forum Features Minerva Schools Dean
May 5, 2014 – The dean of a new higher education venture that has students living in one place for the first year with following years in different cities around the world spoke at today’s Designing the Future(s) of the University event at Georgetown.
Stephen Kosslyn, dean of the faculty of arts and sciences at the Minerva Schools at Keck Graduate Institute of Claremont (KGI), explained that Minerva students will spend their first year living in a residence hall in San Francisco, with the following years spent living in different cities across the world.
“We believe the future is global,” the behavioral psychologist and cognitive scientist explained. “We want to create a network of students who will work together across national boundaries to make the world a better place.”
Kosslyn said the students will learn, study and interact with their classmates and professors on the school’s online platform as well as participate in co-curricular and extracurricular activities like other college students.
The new program also melds online learning with a core curriculum and is designed with the students in mind.
“We’re going back to student oriented,” Kosslyn said. “We’re all about helping the students succeed in life and professionally, that’s our measure of success on how our students do.”
The Minerva Schools spurred from the Minerva Project, which aims to provide an accessible liberal arts education for future leaders and innovators.
“The [schools] are bringing an innovative approach to higher education with a curriculum focused on cultivating key habits of mind in core foundational concepts designed to be valuable in any field,” said Georgetown President John J. DeGioia, who introduced Kosslyn.
Georgetown’s Designing the Future(s) initiative engages the university community in exploring challenges facing higher education, treats the sector’s future as a design question and uses dialogue and workshops to look at innovation in teaching and learning.
Training Effective Leaders
After Kosslyn delivered his remarks about the Minerva Schools, he joined DeGioia in a detailed discussion before taking questions from the audience.
Kosslyn, who previously served as dean of social science at Harvard, says the principles of the Minerva Schools are to train their students to be effective leaders and innovators with a global mindset.
He said such principles are achieved by teaching what he called core competencies – critical thinking, creative thinking and effective communication – and habits of mind, such as evaluating claims, facilitating discovery and interacting with others.
“Minerva has designed a four-year undergraduate education to develop key habits of mind and foundational concepts intentionally,” Kosslyn said. “[What] we’ve done is permeated the entire curriculum with the goal of teaching these habits of mind and foundational concepts.”
Kosslyn said Minerva will admit a small group of students this fall, with a full class entering the schools the following year.
The school’s first class will enroll in the program tuition-free for the duration of their undergraduate career.