In keeping with the themes of innovation, curiosity and asking the right questions that has been running through many of my blogs recently, this is a fascinating Ted-X talk by Dr. David Helfand, one of the founders of Quest University.
For those of you who have never heard of Quest, it is a University in British Columbia that has taken a completely different approach to post-secondary education: one which aims at overcoming some of the strange and unfortunate aspects of the culture that is currently dominating our education system – like students who are called customers and a structure that honours their most highly esteemed academics by freeing them from ever having to teach students again.
Helfand, an astrophysicist, spent 35 years on faculty at Columbia University, much of it as the Chair of the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics. Through the course of his career he developed a deep understanding of the problems that plague post-secondary education and seized the opportunity that Quest provided him to redesign post-secondary education from scratch.
From doing away with some of the traditional elements of the academy, like departments and lectures, to changing the lexicon and physical structure applied to education, to incorporating a full general liberal education foundation, experiential learning components and a course blocking structure that does away with multi-tasking in education; Quest has created something entirely new in modern education.
It might be the only University in North America that embraces the principle that the goal is to educate undergraduates – not to sell degrees to customers.
Thanks to Jasmine Akbarali for this suggested TED Talk and I would love to hear what any of you think of this talk.
Until next time!