In September, I was fortunate enough to take a short field trip in the afternoon to Philadelphia University to learn more about the work they have done over the last several years with innovation. Their President, Dr. Steve Spinelli, was gracious enough to spend some time with Dr. Hall, Dr. Dinkins, and me sharing an academic philosophy that focuses on “innovation, real-world experience, and transdisciplinary learning.” We were also fortunate enough to spend time with several professors as well as their leaders in communication and admission.
There are many impressive aspects to the school. They have a progressive approach, combining their business, design, and engineering schools into one program. The fact that students are working on teams as consultants to major companies is impressive and worth emulating. It seemed similar to the approach that IDEO takes. It is refreshing to see higher education take the lead with innovating our schools. Kudos to Steve and his team.
The senior administration also spent a great deal of time talking with us about modernizing the communications and admission processes. Their use of targeted consultants and big data have led to impressive results. They certainly pushed our thinking.
While visiting other independent schools will always be a good form of professional development, I continue to believe that ideas from Higher Education and other sectors will help push us in new and exciting ways.