Complexity & Innovation in Higher Ed

“Empower. Engage. Enable.”

Sensemaker Design Jam @DavidsonCollege | October 18, 2018

Liberal Arts Colleges face a growing need to diversify and align to the demographic shifts in college age populations currently underway in the U.S. In order to recruit the top students, we must make our institutions more welcoming and inclusive. Understanding whether or not our institutions are becoming more inclusive is a matter of cultural exploration, the assessment of which is complex and may not lend itself to narrowly defined research questions or the measurement of predictable outcomes.

If we are going to be responsive to students needs and influence our campus cultures around inclusivity, then we need to listen to authentic student voices and recognize broad patterns in their experiences. That means being open to narratives, and interventions, that defy our assumptions and predictions. SenseMaker, an innovative tool and method, offers a promising additional data layer to address this level of cultural complexity and examine the surprising or idiosyncratic ways that students experience our campus cultures.

Small networks limit the ability to generate knowledge. Effective innovation requires larger networks that bring a greater diversity of ideas. Working together, a collection of liberal arts colleges will design a SenseMaker instrument that provides a larger dataset from which we can design strategies, programs, and/or interventions that foster inclusion. Casting a wider net will reveal a greater number and variety of story patterns that inform potential innovations and allow all of us to be more effective in our responses.

This small gathering is by invitation only.


Photo by Mohdammed Ali on Unsplash