Building the Intentional University: Minerva and the Future of Higher Education (MIT Press) 1st Edition, Kindle Edition
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'Building the Intentional University' evoked two strong contrasting emotions for me:
1) Near-despair at the state of the broader higher ed landscape today. The book is packed with clear, concise, and potent information that creates a rock solid case for how and why higher ed is incredibly broken. It's undeniable that millions of students are investing record-levels of time and money only to come away unprepared to face the challenges of our increasingly complex society.
2) Pure joy from understanding how a small group of extraordinary people with the right values and clear understanding of the deficiencies of a large-scale system came together with courage, vulnerability, rigor, and creativity to create a new institution that has, in just a few years, unequivocally demonstrated that alternate models higher ed can be orders of magnitude more effective, and at a lower cost to boot. Truly inspiring! I feel more hopeful than I have in years that real change is possible.
The book is beautifully put together; organized into highly-readable chapters each touching on a different aspect of what and how Minerva teaches and how they intentionally built a new university for the 21st century from the ground up. Their clear goal is to create the wise and capable leaders and global citizens that the world desperately needs to build a better world. Their methodology is focused not on transferring content knowledge but on developing foundational concepts and habits of mind (ways of thinking critically and creatively that become automatic with practice) that will serve students for a lifetime. It covers student life, their model of "the world as a classroom" (Minerva students live in 7 different cities during their 4 years of study), and the core principles that guide every decision and help keep the institution from falling victim to distractions so that they maintain a clear focus on their primary goal. It provides a compelling blueprint for others who might blaze similar trails, and it will undoubtedly inspire and fortify many trail blazers.
In sum, 'Building the Intentional University' should be required reading for all prospective and current college students, parents, and K-12 and university educators and administrators. I can't recommend it highly enough.