Christine Ortiz, dean of Graduate Education at Massachusetts Institute of Technology is attempting to change the face of education. Ortiz is taking on a huge project within the next year. She plans to create a college with no majors, lectures or classrooms.
The college program would consist of students choosing a startup research project to complete throughout the course of their time at the university. They would choose a faculty member to mentor them throughout their studies.
Ortiz told USA Today that her reasoning behind changing the curriculum came from her realization that "disciplinary boundaries are essentially artificial," along with globalization and complex research areas that require interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary thinking. With the evolution of scientific fields and the opportunities to create new fields, lines have been blurred and Ortiz is doing what is necessary to compensate for this evolution. By creating this program, she is essentially implementing interdisciplinary programs, paired with project-based learning.
According to University of New Orleans, students who participate in their interdisciplinary studies program "are able to synthesize broad perspectives, knowledge, skills, interconnections, and epistemology in an educational setting." That's a fancy way of saying it makes students well-rounded, a quality many employers look for in an employee.
Project-based learning, according to a study done by the University of Michigan, is used to "engage students in investigation of authentic problems." This seems to be a more personalized approach that could be useful in the real world, rather than sending students in a general direction of study.
Maybe Ortiz's plan will combat the college dropout rate (shoutout Kanye West).
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