Now more than ever, today’s college students are drawn to public service, understand the value of teamwork, and crave real-world experiences that leverage traditional classroom teaching. Blending these features into an educational strategy is an opportunity and a challenge. The good news is that a team at the Persidio Institute, a Presidio Trust initiative, and a select group of higher education leaders from institutions across the nation have been engaged in discussions to imagine a new type of educational program that resonates with students, future employers, and academia.
In June 2015, a dozen leaders representing a diverse group of higher education organizations and institutions came together for a two-day meeting at the Presidio Institute to ideate what a multi-campus leadership development program offered on the Presidio Institute campus, would look like for undergraduates who have a deep interest in social change.
The conversations affirmed what many prominent leaders and organizations from different sectors are saying: social issues are ever-changing and complex, and a different leadership development method is needed in developing effective, long-term solutions. As the nation’s first center on cross sector leadership and collaboration, the Presidio Institute believes that now is the time for cross sector leadership development, which calls for leaders to fluidly work across the boundaries of different sectors and be equipped with critical skills necessary for broad scale collaboration and impact.
Julia Lang, Program Manager at Taylor attended the two-day meeting. In considering how the broad scale collaborative and transformational experiences at Presidio Institute intersects with the work being done at Taylor, Lang said:
My experience at the Presidio Institute exploring how we might create a residential, cross sector leadership experience for undergraduates was a fascinating opportunity to employ the principles of design thinking in solving a real-world problem with a diverse range of stakeholders. A highlight of my experience was working with an eclectic group of educators from across the country to co-create and creatively envision how we might create a transformational experience that would challenge students to think outside the box and equip them with tools and experiences to become positive change agents.
In one of my roles here at Taylor, I lead crash courses in Design Thinking and TA our Design Thinking class for students in the Social Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship Minor. This experience took my understanding of design thinking to the next level and provided a wonderful model for how diverse, interdisciplinary teams can work together to generate new ideas and innovative programs that will better prepare students to tackle wicked problems in our complex world.
I have already used skills learned at the Presidio in teaching design thinking here at Taylor and look forward to further learning and collaboration from participants at the X-Sector lab from around the country, including Stanford University, U.C. Berkeley, University of San Diego, Antioch University, and Campus Compact.
Presidio Institute, as does Taylor, believes by uniting shared interests and resources through university partnerships, the potential to spark an innovative model for a multi-campus partnership, in conjunction with a community-based approach to learning will ultimately lead to new methods for problem solving complicated social issues that affect our world.
To learn more about Presidio Institute, the video below highlights the key ideas that were generated during this convening: