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Bentley on Bloomberg: Why Education and Industry Need to Partner


Bentley on Bloomberg: Why Education and Industry Need to Partner

The pace of change in today’s innovation economy is hard to keep up with. Companies are struggling to find and keep the talent they need, while colleges and universities are constantly evolving to help students prepare for a workforce disrupted by technology and artificial intelligence.

Bentley President Gloria Larson, along with guest experts, joined Bloomberg Radio’s Carol Massar and Cory Johnson, to talk about why it is more important than ever for higher education and industry to work together, and how creative partnerships can help ensure students are successful after graduation. Here are excerpts from the show.

Educators must keep up with industry change

The pace of change today is more rapid than ever. When you think about what AI is doing to shake up the workplace and the need to constantly have skills upgraded, it’s more important than ever that colleges stay current. Everybody, including parents and students looking for a return on investment, is asking for more from universities, and employers have said that colleges aren’t meeting their expectations with work-ready graduates. The rapid pace of change can be frustrating to employers who expect that college graduates will still come in with the soft skills and ability to be lifelong learners, but at the same time want them to come in and hit the ground running with some practical skill sets that comes from internship experiences and curriculum. In order for colleges and universities to truly prepare graduates for the workplace today and in the future, they must have close partnerships with industry that allow both sides to keep up with the ever-evolving marketplace and ultimately benefit students.

Communication is key

As educators, we need to know where the gaps are when it comes to the kinds of skills employers need and the educational experiences we are giving students. This pace of change is so intense that business partners, as well as academics, really need to be innovative and creative together about what we’re going to teach and how we’re going to teach it. It is important to be closely engaging with industry partners in the creation of current academic content. For example, our analytics program has evolved as a result of listening to our partners who have told us they don’t have enough of this particular skill set to meet the demands the world of work is requiring. An appropriate balance between academic and industry insight in curriculum development comes from frequency of interaction between our faculty and industry partners. We work hard to engage our faculty and promote opportunities for them to do research with our industry partners. When they are collaborating together and discovering new things, it becomes a basis for trust - faculty learn how firms are changing and what’s happening to business models. And in turn they train our students to contribute to the new models.

Educators should teach the hybrid knowledge employers need

We are requiring hybrid knowledge now for all positions. We’re looking at it in three distinct areas. The first are leadership skills, these include traditional soft skills such as agility, communication, writing, the ability to present to clients and to ask good questions. The second is the technical knowledge and that includes the traditional domain knowledge, whether its accounting, supply chain, consulting, and emerging technologies. We are looking for the skills that are going to facilitate dealing with the world today like blockchain, analytics, how to extract, transform and load data so that you can use and apply that knowledge. The third and maybe most important area are the three mindsets we think everybody needs: The first is an analytical mindset - the ability to deal with the huge amounts of data that everyone is going to confront, regardless of the job, the role, or the geography. The second is an innovation mindset - in a time of incredibly fast change how do you have the ability to fail forward to get up and keep going so that any failure is never a big failure, but brings you closer to a better answer. And the third is global mindset - how do you work with people with a different mindset, from different backgrounds, different ethnicities so that you get the best of what everyone’s thinking so that you reach the best answer.

Private and public partnerships are the future of education

The collaboration between Oracle, the Oracle Education Foundation, and Design Tech High School is an excellent example of a public-private partnership in education.Partnering with the Oracle Education Foundation - which has a mission to help young people to develop the creative confidence, technical acumen, empathy, and grit to become effective designers of solutions to people’s needs and the world’s problems - is helping the high school to realize its own vision of reinventing education, while focusing on individual student outcomes. Design Tech’s mission, to develop students who believe that the world can be a better place and that they can be the ones to make it happen, relies on building optimism and self-efficacy, it doesn’t only teach students about design thinking, but also how to apply it. In a community like Silicon Valley where innovation is a driving factor, we hope that Design Tech High School at Oracle will become a model for the future of education, benefitting generations of students, as well as society.



by Kristen Walsh March 25, 2019

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