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Mindover U: Hacking Your Thinking - The "T-shaped" University

A university that focuses on developing both a depth of technical skill and a broad range of 21st century mindsets.

Photo of Gregory Wilson
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Currently only a thought experiment, not an actual university in development.

Chronicle of Higher Education survey

  • Thirty-one percent of employers indicated that recent graduates are unprepared or very unprepared for their job search.
  • Over half of the employers indicated difficulty in finding qualified candidates for job openings
  • When it comes to the skills most needed by employers, job candidates are lacking most in written and oral communication skills, adaptability and managing multiple priorities, and making decisions and problem solving.

Higher education needs to become a better investment. Too often young adults graduate from college without the skills needed to be successful in their future careers. There is no accountability on colleges to prove that their product will lead to successful jobs or careers. Graduates are often left unemployed, with a job they are over qualified for or not interested, and/or in massive debt. I want to create a college that teaches students relevant skills and mindsets and cultivate them into lifelong learners. Mindover U will focus on pursuing challenges instead of majors and developing interconnected mindsets that will help prepare them for the 21st century workforce. Mindsets are a way of thinking and can help in viewing a problem from multiple perspectives. Examples of mindsets that are important include entrepreneurship, abstract thinking, emotion regulation, and adaptability. 

Student who enroll won't choose a major like in traditional colleges. Instead they will decide on a problem or challenge (in the vain of Google Moonshots or Engineering Grand Challenges) to pursue determined by the combination of passions with current and desired skills. They will then form teams or cohorts and determine roles (i.e. artist, programmer, writer, lawyer, etc.) in the project. The students will use self-directed learning in addition to classes, workshops, and speakers offered by Mindover U to tackle the challenge. The problem or challenge shapes the learning path rather than just choosing a major

Mindover U will use lean thinking concepts to make the structure of the college as simple as possible. The "curriculum" Mindover U is divided into "mindsets" and "skillets".

Mindsets are developed through:

Workshops/Classes on
- Entrepreneurship
- Crowd Funding
- Innovation/Design Thinking
- Raising Funds (Crowdfunding, Grants, etc.)
- Collaboration/Teamwork Skills
- Creativity 
- Personal finances 
- Personal Branding 
- Minimalism
- Artistic Expression 
- Problem Solving/Critical Thinking 
- Reflections on Current Events
- Tackling Grand/Moonshot challenges
- One -on -one training with personal coach

Skillsets are developed through:

General online search
MOOCs (Coursera, edX, Treehouse, etc)
Face-to-Face MOOC labs
Mentors/People in the field willing to share information
Guest Lectures/Speakers
Rapid Prototyping classes
Research Classes (Quantitative, Qualitative)
Media, Information, and Technology skill classes
Presentation/Community/Writing Skills

There will also be an online learning management system where students can share resources and experiences. While it is important to become specialized in one area in your career, students are often asked to become specialists before they even know what field they are interested in. However learning these mindsets can be beneficial for everyone. 

Who is your idea designed for and how does it reimagine higher education to support the needs of tomorrow?

Mindover U targets the growing generation of problem-solvers and entrepreneurs that want independence, mobility, challenges, and the opportunity for a rewarding career.

This idea emerged from:

  • An individual

What skills, input or guidance from the OpenIDEO community would be most helpful in building out or refining your idea?

Guidance on how this idea could be implemented

What early, lightweight experiment might you try out in your own community to find out if the idea will meet your expectations?

1 week workshop or design bootcamp that prototypes this idea.

Tell us about your work experience:

I have experience in education, design, technology, and research.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Isaac Jumba

Hi Gregory,

This is realy great from you. Is this what you shared with me over our skype call? Would really love to see this come to life.

I like your approach to testing the idea through the 1 week design camp. Are you plannig on doing this soon?

Photo of Gregory Wilson

Yes it is Isaac! I don't have any plans on doing a 1 week design camp yet? My hope is to put this idea out there and hopefully recruit people who would be interested in helping me realize these ideas. I think what you're working on is very similar to what I would like to developed so there is definitely opportunities for collaboration.

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