Undergraduate education is undergoing a significant shift, and the progressive institutions are worth paying attention to.
Provost at Purdue instigated a deep investigation into the need to embed innovation into undergraduate education. Here at home, RECODE works with universities and colleges across Canada to test ways to “re-code” undergraduate pedagogies. These efforts to disembark from the typical undergraduate textbook-lecture-exam-style of education signal that change within higher education is a serious priority for major thought leaders.
The questionable value of an undergraduate degree is not a new conversation. I grew up hearing it from my mum regarding her “never used” B.Sc., and my dad who stayed far from “that institution”. Twenty years later, my cousin debates the merit of
not returning to her B.A. every September. This conversation finds its way into articles ranging from student-run papers to national news outlets, though these days, the debate is far more nuanced. No longer are we debating bachelor’s degree vs. no bachelor’s degree. Instead, we are asking how can the bachelor’s degree be different?
At the University of Guelph, we are experimenting with new ways of learning. Our work around experiential learning and innovation takes a food-security focus—attracting students who are tired of learning about food-systems problems, and interested in
doing something about them.