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Reinventors Round Table Focuses on Higher Education

April 26, 2013
SJSU President Mohammad Qayoumi co-hosted the "Reinventing Higher Education" virtual roundtable with a range of education and technology experts.

On April 18, a virtual roundtable in the "Reinventors" series was held on how to tackle intractable problems in higher education. The roundtable was co-chaired by CCST Senior Fellow Mohammad H. Qayoumi, President of San Jose State University, and Silicon Valley entrepreneur Kim Polese, who collaborated on a 2012 white paper on reinventing public education.

"Higher education sits in a position of real opportunity," said Qayoumi and Polese in their 2012 paper. "The advent of new information technologies offers exciting possibilities - particularly with the increasing cost of attending college. We have to rethink, reimagine and reengineer teaching, learning and educational delivery systems. At the same time, we must examine assessment approaches and address the very complex and critically important implications for faculty work and professional development."

The Reinventors virtual roundtables are a series of online conversations among top innovators about how to "fundamentally reinvent America" with an eye to leveraging new paradigms made possible by advances in technology. Topics have ranged from regulation to government bureaucracy to adaptive cities. The roundtables make use of interactive video to bring together a wide range of innovators for each discussion.

"We're stitching people together from all over the country," said Reinventors founder Peter Leyden in a recent talk describing his new company. "Video opens up tons of communication possibilities, which is starting to affect the way we work. We are essentially entering a period of historical transformation... we have an extraordinary set of technologies here."

The higher education roundtable included a number of people focused on new technologies in education, including Stuart Frye, of Udacity; Daniel Erasmus, founder and director of the Digital Thinking Network (DTN); Jamie Daves, co-founder and CEO at LearnerX; Matt Haney, Executive Director of the UC Student Association; Gene Wade, founder and CEO of UniversityNow; and CCST Executive Director Susan Hackwood.

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"The difficulties in moving California's education system forward are significant," said Hackwood. "We have been studying the state's production of STEM graduates for many years. The approaches considered by this group represent an important step in introducing some truly new paradigms into the education process."

"Higher education has not been able to transform itself," said President Qayoumi during the discussion. "We need to look at how we can use technology to help us prepare a workforce that will be career ready, increase the number of students that are STEM graduates, and as importantly, reduce the costs of going to college."


CCST Spotlight is a weekly newsletter focusing on CCST activities and highlighting innovative science and technology research, applications, and policy issues in California. The Spotlight editor is Danny DeCillis. We welcome information and feedback from our readers about science and technology at work in the private, public, and education sectors. To send us questions or comments, contact us at ccst@ccst.us, or (951) 682-8701.