DeGioia announces new initiative

November 14, 2013

President John DeGioia announced the creation of a new initiative called “Designing the Future(s) of the University” in an email to the Georgetown community on Tuesday. Launching on Nov. 20, the initiative hopes to push Georgetown to the forefront of change in higher education.

“We really believe Georgetown has something distinctive to contribute to this conversation … [on] innovation in teaching and learning,” said Randall Bass, vice provost for education, in a press conference on Wednesday.

The initiative will host several events and invite speakers to discuss and incorporate community feedback. It will also fund large-scale experiments with new educational methods, such as online learning, at Georgetown.

Bass said that Georgetown created a new and distinct initiative because it saw its goals as large-scale enough to require input from the entire Georgetown community.

“In order to experiment with the kind of large-scale packages that we’ll want to put into place, we really need to engage with the whole campus to think imaginatively about this,” Bass said.

When asked which issues facing higher education he planned to focus on, Bass highlighted “unsustainable” tuition growth as the primary concern, as well as the capability to reach new students, competency-based learning, and online education resources.

Bass hopes to incorporate feedback from a course he will co-teach in the spring with Ann Pendleton-Jullian, distinguished visiting professor of design, called “IDST-325: The University as a Design Problem: Redesigning Georgetown for the Global Century.”

“The class … is going to take a very broad approach to trying to imagine what the world would be like in 2030 … and try to design a university based on that,” Bass said.

When asked about the financial resources the initiative will require, Bass was unsure of the costs in their entirety.

“We know that it will require some resources to bring thought leaders to campus. … We know we’ll need to spend some money on research and development [and] really start on working the educational packages, and that will be a kind of investment similar to ITEL investment,” Bass said. “I don’t know if I can answer how many resources [this will require in total].”

The Initiative on Technology-Enhanced Learning refers to Provost Robert Groves’s initiative to develop and fund new approaches to interactive, online learning.

The first conversation will take place at 5:00 p.m. on Nov. 20 with Provost Robert Groves and DeGioia in the Fisher Colloquium.

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