Intelligence Part 3

After a time away from the intelligence discussions, the group of university presidents, deep-thinkers, and faculty reconvened. In the interim, the faculty had met to develop a straw model for the development of the intelligence traits identified in earlier discussions. The faculty asked the others to hear their ideas with minimal questions until the entire concept was presented.

Faculty A (neuroscientist):           First, we have done research on brain studies and are convinced that the intelligence traits can be developed. The portion of the brain where the traits reside is one that can be expanded. But there is some bad news as well. Let me have my colleague describe the challenges.

Faculty B (developmental The traits we are talking about aren’t something you can develop with psychologist): traditional educational approaches. You can’t develop these with lectures. These traits need to be lived to be learned. The good thing is that there are developmental models that have worked in the past.

Faculty C (historian):  Over the centuries, skilled trades were developed through mentor/protégé arrangements. Some of our greatest artists developed their craft as protégés. Lawyers developed their skill in a similar way. What has not been shown yet is whether our intelligence traits can be developed in a similar way. But we believe they can, and we have a proposal.

Faculty D (curriculum designer): What we propose is that we identify a new type of professional educator. We think of this person as a developmental mentor. The mentor and protégé would begin their relationship prior to students arriving on campus and continuing throughout the students’ time on campus.

When students aren’t in class, they will be in the mentor’s office engaging  with the mentor and other protégés of the mentor. We propose to create  a series of developmental experiences designed to help the protégé learn by doing and reflection.

Obviously the challenge will be to identify the developmental mentors. It’s unlikely that very many current faculty will be suitable for this role.

Faculty E (human resources):  Every organization has professionals who have a natural talent for mentoring. That’s the candidate pool we are looking at. We think that this position will be very attractive to them, especially among our alumni who are passionate about mentoring. This won’t be cheap.

Faculty F (accounting/finance):  We have an estimate of what this new form of education will cost, but before we show you our estimates, we want to ask you this question:  What will it cost if we don’t lead the way in pioneering a new direction of higher education? What will it cost in low enrollments, unhappy alumni and employers, and un-prepared students for the future?

Faculty G (anthropologist):  We study change in all its dimensions. What do we need to do to convince you to say yes?

Maybe it’s time to revisit our model for developing the intelligence traits needed in the 21st Century. And the model that may work is the one that worked before education became a factory that processed students. We need to instill in them what it really means to be an adult who can contribute to society as a professional and more importantly, as a vital contributor to society as a human.

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“The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.” – Albert Einstein

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Useful guides for incorporating messages into discussion.