Global higher-ed experts offer insight on how institutions can come back from an unexpected spring and re-engage with students

6 tips to reopen universities during COVID-19

Global higher-ed experts offer insight on how institutions can come back from an unexpected spring and re-engage with students

In greater detail, here is the advice from these global leaders and where the soundbite can be found on the video recording of the conference.

Thrive, not just survive: “We must not allow our institutions to be pre-occupied by survival. We must think and define an exit strategy so that when we exit the crisis, we will not be at the same point as when we began. We are undergoing a great upheaval in the job, academic, and school systems. We will be in a completely new place. I believe we will have integrated learning across college, k-12, and career in new ways.” Professor Ami Moyal, President of Afeka College of Engineering and former Tech CEO (Video at 6:00)

Think like an engineer: “These are difficult days. We wish we had more engineers to help us design and adapt education to this moment. Our global challenge is that 1.5 billion students have been thrown out of school due to [COVID-19]. What we learned is that learning isn’t a place, it’s an activity.” He added, “we need to help students move beyond learning something to deep understanding. We need to prepare them for a lifetime of jobs in different sectors and upskilling.” Andreas Schleicher, OECD Director for Education and Skills. (Video at 2:33:47)

Bridge between engineering and all other students: “[COVID] has laid bare the challenge that 95% of grads are NOT in engineering. We have to bridge that gap. We found young people have 2 natural interests… mysteries and making things. Science is about solving mystery stories and engineering is about making things. We can design and build educational solutions based on these ideas” said Dr. Richard Miller, Founding President of Olin College. (Video at 2:50:35)

Invent and invest in micro-degrees: “When I was a student, my degree was supposed to last a lifetime. However, as the world develops quickly, and as the pace is accelerated, we encounter a state of non-linear jumps. It may be necessary to give small degrees that enable knowledge and capabilities in short periods and enable employees to cope with technological approaches and solutions. Establishing a mechanism to convey a micro-degree in a short time is a rare opportunity and will enable a link between industry and academia” said Yaniv Garty, CEO of Intel Israel (Video at 44:45)

Engineer new approaches: “We must use creativity and engineering thinking to solve problems. Our children are learning in new ways and in new environments – at home, in communities, and with teachers from every facet of life. Young learners want to make things work. They always ask ‘Why’ and ‘how.’ We need to teach them to use the word engineer as a verb – to engineer solutions,” said Jan Morrison, Founder of STEM organization TIES. Morrison served as a White House adviser for education and scientific excellence in four different governments and served as a senior advisor for Education for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (Video at 2:43:00)

Welcome the digital revolution: “We have all the components for a digital education revolution – it just hasn’t occurred yet. We are preparing for a revolution but still need to operate higher education today. That is a balancing challenge.” Dr. Naomi Beck, Vice President of Strategy and International Affairs, Israel Council for Higher Education. (Video at 1:49:00)

“The global crisis in the wake of the virus further sharpens the need to build an educational pathway from the earliest years of life through college and beyond that emphasizes those skills found in engineering education – play, exploration, and collaboration,” Moyal said. “Today’s employment market emphasizes the acquisition of vital ‘soft skills,’ as an essential element in educating the next generation of national human capital in the field. This unique conference, which was a meeting place for senior industrial, academia, the education and government system, has helped to unearth these eight great ideas for how academia can return and thrive this fall.”

Material from a press release was used in this report.

Laura Ascione