At Michigan State University (MSU), we continue to build on our experience with the earlier T-summits and last year’s initial offering by our T-academy by offering the second annual “Ramping for Campus T-Vitality and T-Success” this summer.
Last year in the first T-academy, we created a new action-oriented educational effort designed to aid ourselves and others as we work to envision and implement the challenging promise of a next-generation learning environment. An imaginative learning environment in which: a) the walls of the classroom become invisible as a result of the innovative use of engaged learning opportunities; b) students are challenged to define and refine their purpose, gain insight from others, take risks, and act with integrity; and c) through experiential opportunities that strengthen their abilities to span the boundaries between disciplines and systems in order to adapt innovatively to a rapidly changing, and increasingly technological, world. In other words, a learning environment intentionally designed to foster the professional characteristics embedded in the T-Shaped model.
Comments from last summer’s evaluations included:
The team based design required thinking collectively about a problem and shaping and developing strategies and solutions that align with the problem. This design nudged us to think about change from a systems perspective. I invited people to join my team - some whom I had not worked with before. Working as a team inspired innovative thoughts, excitement and support to solve the problem and move our project forward. We are committed to continue the work we began at the T Academy
The group was tight knit. The small size allowed me to develop meaningful engagement with other universities and the conference's leadership.
The small group work was great--whether in institutional groups or cross-institutional groups. It was great to have time to focus on reaching our goals and to get feedback from peers elsewhere.
I appreciated learning from representatives of other institutions. The small group discussions also created a neutral networking opportunity.
I especially liked situating my concerns with the other teams in our cross-institutional sessions and then return those newer perspectives back w/ our institutional team.
Frankly it made me think a lot more about what students were taking away from my classes beyond disciplinary knowledge.
We came away with a better understanding of our project, followed up by a broader understanding of the challenges T-shaped learning presents in different higher education contexts.
I learned about a different approach and saw systems-theory applied to change in higher education
Our team was able to talk through our project, and come back to our office with a more well-thought-out plan to execute the ideas we had.
It brought us together in a way that would not have occurred on our campus.
The second year of T-Academy programming at MSU is tailored to facilitate back-home campus change through an highly interactive agenda of working sessions for campus teams who will spend time struggling with how to design learning environments that foster T-Shaped abilities. Whether your institution is just beginning to envision a new learning environment for your students, and needs design guidance, or you are now trying to drive institutional change in order to align teaching, campus policies, procedures, curricula and structures to facilitate a T-Shaped campus with T-Shaped students, the T-Academy has been developed for you.
Teams of at least three, but ideally five to six, members representing various campus sectors, inclusive of academic affairs, student affairs, faculty, and administration, are invited to apply for participation in the summer 2017 session of the T-Academy. The design of the session is emergent and depends in part on the campus possibilities and challenges that each institutional team brings with them to the T-Academy. However, experts in design, higher educational institutional change, and group facilitation will be on hand to help drive innovative thinking and ensure progress.
At the T-Academy, teams will spend time working intensely with their team, as well as across and within, various institutional groups. All teams will use their time together to reflect on the campus change dynamics inherent with a shift to being T-Shaped and create action plans for use upon return to their home campuses.
Areas of Emphasis
Creating intentional opportunities for students to enhance their understanding of who they are and what they are passionate about – purpose, confidence, and awareness.
Designing learning experiences that foster boundary-spanning abilities. (e.g. working in diverse teams, collaboration within and across systems, etc.)
Utilizing partnership and experiential learning as a critical and rewarded component of a degree program
Defining deep learning in a fast-paced technological era
Characterizing the value added of the T concept
Assessing T abilities
Considering the dynamics of change on your campus and how to align your own systems and efforts to be T-Shaped
Applying and Registering
We are asking participating teams to apply for the T-Academy by sending an expression of interest with a roster of the attending team (name and role), a description of the current state of campus efforts concerning the development of T-Shaped students, and a statement of the specific challenge/opportunity the team wants to use the T-Academy to address. These expressions of interest should be sent to John Beck at firstname.lastname@example.org. Only one expression of interest is needed from each attending team, but institutions can apply to bring multiple teams to the T-Academy. Space will be limited so apply as early as possible. The T-Academy staff will build a participant list to ensure the greatest diversity of campus experience and available synergies for mutual learning and development.
Registration for the T-Academy is $695 per person (not counting accommodations which should be handled separately). The registration fee covers the participant’s involvement in the T-Academy, materials, all Academy-sponsored meals, and parking. Registration (upon receipt of an acceptance based upon the application process) can be done online with a credit card (https://commerce.cashnet.com/msu_3150?&itemcode=3150-LEP-REG) or by calling Kristi White at 517-353-3131 who will handle registration forms that can be mailed with payment.
Pre-Academy team preparation, and reading assignments, will be sent out with confirmation of attendance.
In March 2014, leaders from higher education, industry, government, foundations, and professional associations met in San Jose, California to discuss how to design innovative educational models that foster and develop T-shaped characteristics that are in high demand today and in the future workforce. The summit generated dynamic discussions regarding how higher education and industry can collaborate to cultivate the talent development required for the 21st century workforce. T-shaped professionals need educational and work experiences that help them to learn on how to handle information from multiple sources; advance professional relationships across organizations; contribute innovatively to organizational practices; and communicate with understanding across social, cultural, economic and scientific boundaries.
T-Summit 2015, held on the campus of Michigan State University in March 2015, pushed the conversation further to determine how these groups can best work together to prepare students to be professionals who use new technologies, business models, and societal innovation to make a positive impact on the world.
Participants at this event discussed: higher education and employer partnerships that develop T-shaped competencies; employer practices that advance T-shaped competencies; higher education partnerships that promote T-shaped education; metrics and competencies that define the "T"; and cultivating entrepreneurs and innovators. Participants in the second annual T-Summit shared experiences and best practices to create a common language for both higher education and the corporate sector to use synonymously surrounding T-shaped development.