Only With & Only Here

I recently read an article called “We Must Own Our Own Futures.” (H/T to the great Eric Hudson.) It’s for educational leaders, and mainly, for educational leaders on the collegiate level. Its author, John D. Simon, is President of Lehigh University.

Here’s my favorite part:

[We] at four-year residential research universities should revisit and recommit to what we do that isn’t captured in componentized, knowledge- and skill-centric educational pathways.

Every industry should have their own version of this question. It assumes that computers exist and will continue to exist. It assumes that they can do all the amazing things they can — and will — do. It assumes that, increasingly, people will rely on certain technological affordances, blending them seamlessly into their own lives, giving them time and resources to do different things (or things differently). It assumes that the existing model could already be a dinosaur, hanging on because people can’t cut ties with legacies or sunk costs or defaults or routines.

Variations:

What can we only do when we’re together, in the same room? Are we doing that?

What can we only do when we congregate in this building or space? Are we fully invested and engaged in that?

Where is it possible to be more deeply human in that situation or exchange — or program or application?

What is uniquely valuable about this particular group of people, and is their work being amplified in the right way?

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