Be Advised: Researching in Unknown Territory

Greetings, AC4D blog reader. You may have heard the penchant for ambitious projects at this school. You heard correct. The latest topic and mission will be with us through April 2019- college persistence and completion.

Our focus is how advisors create a meaningful relationship with their advisees. In other words, we’re researching how people talk with one another. Or, how they build trust. Or, how they show others a pathway to be courageous learners in their college career and beyond.

Ambitious? Too broad? Naïve? Maybe. But that’s the beauty of being in this school. Our aim is to complete 10-15 hours of research in the next two weeks, and begin to form dozens of concepts, which may number in the hundreds in the coming months.

I’m not the only one in my cohort who has a slight indifference to the topic. Spoken from a college graduate myself, I know the hypocrisy in making such a claim. My chance to go to college was determined by my parents choice to live near excellent public schools, the support of my family, and the financial backing of Dad co-signing a student loan, much more than it was my academic ability. And that same degree I’m half-complaining about led in some way to all the decent income I’ve made, the ability to live and work in Japan and Tanzania, and to form a decent sentence.

A four year degree is still the most common catalyst that fuels a living income in the U.S. I’m fortunate to have one. My dispassion stems from the feeling that this topic is well-trodden territory. For public policy academics. For educators everywhere. For the ED-tech community. And yes, for designers too.

But this feeling- wanting to do something new, something big, something different- that’s learned. And my college experience helped solidify that. So I shall do my best to let my dispassions be deterred, because creating a transformative learning experience for one other person is worthwhile. Be advised.