Update a Colleague: Sebastian Kaupert at Ashoka

Update a Colleague is a series of posts where faculty members share the resources and information they gained from attending CTL-sponsored events. Look for more upcoming posts from other faculty members to read about their experiences at events and conferences, and stay tuned for future conference applications!
Below the summary from your colleague, please find the resources gained from their attendance at the event.

Ashoka U Exchange:
Experiential Learning; Multidisciplinary Approaches to Climate Change: Research and Teaching; Adaptive and Ethical Engagement: Best Practices in Design Pedagogy; Who is Higher Education for? Disability as Diversity
March 16 2021

At the 2021 Ashoka U Exchange, l pursued several topics.
1. Experiential Learning,
2. Adaptive and Ethical Approaches in Design,
3. Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Access and
4. Innovation & Incubation in an educational context.

The Experiential Learning session gave a tour of methods and frameworks that can be used to embed classwork in an applied project. This started by offering students roles as student consultants, entrepreneurs pursuing community impact and connections with the business community, and coaching them through the engagements.

It included Social Change Plans, Simulation Games, Case-based teaching models, Developing Empathy – inviting social entrepreneurs, studying B-Corps, and Theory of Change.

[ this gave me new inspiration for the experiential teaching I’ve been practicing in my classes for a long time, but it also pointed to the issue of using (free) student work in place of properly compensated services, which is a bigger issue in design and advertising]

Adaptive and Ethical Engagement is about understanding a design project as partnering and collaborating with clients and end users in developing and implementing solutions, and to teach that type of approach by structuring design pedagogy around the same model.

An exploration of Who is Higher Education for? looked at how institutions have long ways to go to be truly supportive and inclusive of everybody, with the student speakers feeling that exclusion-driving structures are so entrenched that all but ‘tearing it down and rebuilding from the ground up’ will fail to meaningfully address the issue, in the short or long term. Notable were the 50-year time-frames that were invoked in multiple sessions by students, suggesting that it was a suggested framework for the Exchange. (it felt a bit long to me)

Disability as Diversity started by looking at the reality of many disabled or other-abled students and faculty, and how our cultural patterns of identifying disabled members of our community by their visible difference and overlooking the full complexity of their identities, while ignoring or discounting/disbelieving invisible disabilities, inadvertently pushing towards an ableist homogeneity. – The main goal being to organically provide support for equitable, if not equal, access and agency, while focusing on and engaging with everybody’s expanded identity, not just their readily identifiable point of difference.

Poignant saying:
Diversity is getting invited to the party, inclusion is getting invited to dance.

[This talk connected for me to my personal notion and theory that there is a strong connection between diversity and resilience. A diverse community is a resilient community. On a practical level, a community that has structures in place to support a wide range of members can use those structures to respond to challenges and unforeseen or rapid changes in their circumstances. More conceptually, a homogenous community is more readily disrupted or disintegrated when its homongeneity is threatened. In a diverse, heterogenous community, disruption doesn’t change much (or is harder to manifest).

Finally, there were three striking stories of student entrepreneurs and change makers with global level ambitions around energy, social equity and economic access. What was notable was the scale and scope of their ambition, their passion and the state of development they had already reached with their respective solutions. (Elon, watch out)

In closing, I wish I could have attended more of the sessions. I also didn’t manage to get a hold of some of the presentations that were used during the sessions, besides the ones shared in advance.

Sebastian Kaupert, Communications Design


Resources from this event:


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