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IKIGAI+: Meet Your Coach That Will Help Cultivate Your Purpose-Based Collegiate Journey [UPDATE: 2/24/17]

Goodbye one-size fits all academic advising models.

Photo of Karlos Marshall
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UPDATES:

2/14/17: Refined vocabulary throughout, particularly around use of "mission" and "purpose."

2/15/17: Deeper clarity as to how Vocation, Profession, Passion and Mission are framed within Ikigai+.

2/21/17: Additional refinement questions now answered.

2/22/17: Added PDF (see "Attachments") that outlines details of the work we have done testing the Ikigai+ model over the past year. 

2/23/17: Detailed third tier of Ikigai+ and Capstone culmination.

2/24/17: Added user experience journey.

The Ikigai+ is a purpose-based academic advising model, which is guided by an Ikigai coach to empower 21st Century students to find, explore and engage the fundamental issues and questions that “keep them up at night.” This process guides the students through a journey to tackle those questions by developing an individual purpose to effect/change the greater society; in which they will create marketable ideas and/or solutions to their purpose—through their degree of study. 



                                                    Ikigai+ Advising Model

Ikigai is a Japanese term that means “a reason for being.” The Ikigai coach asks the following existential questions to ground the student's reason for being:  

  • A: What do you love?
  • B: What does the world need?
  • C: What can you be paid for?
  • D: What are you good at?



                                         Defining a Purpose-Based Exploration

Based on the initial process with a Ikigai Coach, an example of a student’s framework might resemble this:

  • A: What do you loveFamily and helping others.
  • B: What does the world needTransient accessibility for individuals with autism and disability.
  • C: What can you be paid forMechanical and Aerospace Engineering.
  • D: What are you good atSolving problems.

From there, the student and Ikigai Coach will distill the information into Mission, Vocation, Profession and Passion. Please note—that there may/will be synergies and overlap of interests and answers between all the four questions and four overarching areas (e.g., mission). This is certainly welcomed and encouraged. Ikigai Coaches should be aware that students will all be at different developmental levels, as it pertains to discerning their purpose. In general, more synergy and more overlap will suggest that a student is closer to fully discerning their purpose.

                                                 A Deeper Look At Vocation

Given that vocational exploration and pursuits are integral to the University of Dayton’s mission and vision, coupled with the fact that college students don’t always have a clear understanding of vocation, more work may be required in this area. Per the University’s HIR Fellows (2016), vocation can be defined as “answering a call to discover one’s unique gifts and employ them in service for the common good in ways that are personally satisfying and bring meaning to one’s life” (pg. 3).  

Further, the HIR Fellows (2016) noted that students found mentors that asked the right questions to be highly valuably, but students rarely identified an advisor as a key figure for vocational exploration (pg. 5). With an in-depth understanding of the student’s purpose-based pursuits, the coach will use the following framework provided by the HIR Fellows Report (2016) to give the student ample opportunities to discern and act on their vocations:

  • discussing their vocation and calling openly
  • identifying their unique, defining gifts, talents, skills, interests, and experiences
  • articulating who they are and how they can serve others in community
  • examining activities that bring meaning and joy to their life
  • questioning their life’s meaning and purpose
  • learning and practicing the skills of effective discernment in the context of community
  • reflecting on their responsibilities toward others
  • exploring the vocational implications of their education and professional training
  • preparing themselves for a lifetime of vocational exploration

                                            
                                               A Deeper Look At Profession

The always changing 21st century workforce is a boon for the innovative economy but creates a dynamic amount of tensions and concerns for young college students continually expected to recognize their career tracks. This career fluidity is challenging today’s students' understanding of value and meaning in their professional decisions. College degrees are still a necessary step for post-secondary advancement, but according to the 2016 Workforce-Skills Preparedness Report (PayScale and Future Workplace Release 2016 Workforce-Skills Preparedness Report, Payscale.com, 2016) that details the responses of almost 64,000 hiring managers across a wide range of industries who were asked about the ‘skills gap’—the disconnect between the skills students have when they graduate from college and the skills companies need. In detail:

  • 60% of managers said new graduates do not have the critical thinking and problem-solving skills necessary for the job.
  • 46% said new graduates lack the necessary communication skills.
  • 36% reported new graduates have inadequate interpersonal and teamwork skills.

America faces a pressing need for talent: workers with the skills and knowledge to fill 21st-century jobs. By the end of this decade, 65 percent of all jobs will require an education beyond high school, yet today only about 40–45 percent of Americans have at least an associate’s degree or high-quality post-secondary certificate. (Credential Reform: Technology and Changing Workforce Needs Will Drive Our Future HigherEd, Jamie Merisotis, GettingSmart.com, 2016)

The Ikigai+ looks to honor the evolving professional landscape by weaving passion, mission and vocation as skills and value that will truly shrink that 21st century skills gap.

                                                A Deeper Look At Passion

Across the national higher education landscape, students are coordinating their classes, their research, their work and co-curricular activities around their passions. The shifting generational community on colleges campuses across the world are becoming more and more collaborative each and every year but the understanding of individual passions is as wide ranging as the generations themselves. In a recent Generation Z study from Barnes & Noble college, it was pointed out “that passion for education is based in a highly adult sense of realism”, defining this incoming generation of learners as “ truly passionate about the importance and value of education, especially as it relates to finding a job and preparing them for a career”. (Getting to know Gen Z, Barnes & Noble College, 2016)

Yet passion has a wide net of definition. One that is expansive as the generation of learners looking to implore it as a structure for on-going learning. Extracurricular activities, real-world problem solving, and personal passions and interests play a central role in developing a Purpose Statement. Honoring a student’s passion as a component of learning is a valuable complement to the academic coursework that has traditionally been the focus of university learning.

                                                   A Deeper Look at Mission

The exploration of mission allows for the maturation of students’ purpose-based deliverables, as well empowering students to continue engaging in their fight for world change. As a 2010 AACU journal forecasted, “undergraduates are encouraged to be discoverers rather than receptacles of knowledge, and consequently there is more involvement by faculty in undergraduate research mentoring. Different modes of teaching must take advantage of students’ various learning styles as student populations become more ethnically and economically diverse. Teachers will need to be sensitive to the full spectrum of diversity that our students and their respective communities present.” (Changing Students, Faculty, and Institutions in the Twenty-First Century, Louise Hainline, Michael Gaines, Cheryl Long Feather, Elaine Padilla and Esther Terry, Association of American Colleges & Universities: Peer Review, 2010)

This growing diversity of experience and journey has already influenced a series of new generations seeking value and pathways for this awakened discovery of purpose, be it culturally, emotionally, politically or economically. This innovative approach to teaching asks students to respond to the signs of the times to address specific needs, concerns, and their calling.

This process will lead to the initial development of the student's “Ikigai”—purpose-based journey. The student would then determine an Ikigai Vision Statement, that will serve as a guidepost for further exploration. Per the student example below, an Ikigai Vision Statement might look like the following: 

Ikigai Vision Statement: To challenge archaic models of travel, by presenting futuristic U.S. high speed rails and aerospace designs that cater to those with disabilities.

Based on the student’s Ikigai, you can see the influence of the student's engineering degree of study being used as the vehicle, rather than the destination, for a larger innovation of humanity-centered design that he/she is committed to.      

                                                        Exploratory Journey

Over the duration of the student’s collegiate journey, the student and coach will routinely meet to to select experiential learning opportunities that will give the student the necessary experiences to fully explore his/her purpose to establish marketable ideas and/or outcomes. These opportunities would include specific bundled electives to prepare the student to begin thinking about the 3rd Level of Ikigai:

Mission + Vocation = Advocate

Mission + Passion = Develop

Passion + Profession = Innovate

Profession + Vocation = Serve

This third level, mirroring the students third year in school, would look to expand on the growing student's maturity, experiential learning paths and specific bundled electives and how he/she might expand their Vision Statement in relation to their developing discipline of study.
                                            A Deeper Look at 3rd Level Ikigai       

To collaborate:
Mission - Growing diversity of experience and journey influencing a series of new generations seeking value and education pathways for an awakened discovery of cultural, emotional, political and economical influence
Vocation - Vocation can be defined as “answering a call to discover one’s unique gifts and employ them in service for the common good in ways that are personally satisfying and bring meaning to one’s life”
One Will Advocate: to speak or write in favor of; support or urge by argument; recommend publicly

To collaborate:
Mission - Growing diversity of experience and journey influencing a series of new generations seeking value and education pathways for an awakened discovery of cultural, emotional, political and economical influence
Passion - Growing generation of learners as “truly passionate about the importance and value of education, especially as it relates to finding a job and preparing them for a career”
One Will Develop: to bring out the capabilities or possibilities of; bring to a more advanced or effective state

To collaborate:
Passion - Growing generation of learners as “truly passionate about the importance and value of education, especially as it relates to finding a job and preparing them for a career”
Profession - A growing, dynamic amount of tensions and concerns for young college students expected to recognize their career tracks is challenging today’s students understanding of value and meaning in their professional decisions.
One Will Innovate: to introduce something new; make changes in anything established

To collaborate:
Profession - A growing, dynamic amount of tensions and concerns for young college students expected to recognize their career tracks is challenging today’s students understanding of value and meaning in their professional decisions.
Vocation - Vocation can be defined as “answering a call to discover one’s unique gifts and employ them in service for the common good in ways that are personally satisfying and bring meaning to one’s life”
One Will Serve: to render assistance; to have definite use: to answer the purpose  

                                                      Purpose Cohorts
In this third year, to allow for the maturation of students’ purpose-based deliverables, students would be placed in “Purpose Cohorts” where their concepts will collide together for transdisciplinary (the unity of intellectual frameworks beyond the disciplinary perspectives) deliverables for a humanity-centered capstone. Faculty and staff Ikigai advisors are dedicated to placing purposed-based students together into cohorts around their realized Ikigai with respect to true overlap of collaborative and innovative outcomes.

Three sample Purpose cohorts could have the following objectives (UD How We Teach and Learn Working Group, 2017):

Students as Silo Breakers: This Purpose Cohort rallys together diverse students toward a common purpose; the learning and solutions both leverage and transcend disciplinary knowledge and ways of doing.
Students as Community Champions: This Purpose Cohort positively impacts the supported partner communities through a sustained and evolving commitment to the partner.
Students Prepared for Success in Life: This Purpose Cohort experiences engendered life-transferable skills including self-learning, problem solving, collaboration, conflict resolution, and leadership.

                                                           Culmination

To culminate this experience, the students new Purpose-Based cohorts would 'bundle' their Ikigai Vision with 1-2 additional students to create an impactful and immersive experiences that showcases a marketable idea and/or solution to their collective challenges.

                                    Purpose-Based Bundle to Capstone Example
                                                 Students as Silo Breakers

Initial Ikigai Vision Statement (above) now as evolved Purpose Statement:

It is my purpose to challenge inaccessible and archaic modes of travel — by demonstrating an innovative design of U.S. high-speed rails that cater to individuals with low-spectrum autism and disabilities.
Highlights: Stronger actions of Advocacy and Service as relating to specifically autism. Stronger actions towards Development and Innovation as relating to specifically rail travel and design.

Bundled now with additional student evolved Purpose Statement:

To create an action-oriented immersion that raises awareness of PTSD, through a prototyped re-entry community of artistic therapy and psychology for soldiers and their families. 

In their final year, bundled students would begin cultivating their Purposes through their empathetic lens and burgeoning discipline expertise by focusing on identifying community partners, understanding collaborative purpose possibilities and framing the deliverable for installation design in relation to both discipline of study and community implementation. The capstone is the execution and realization of the student’s bundled purpose-based learning design challenged through the lens of their degree focus. Students must demonstrate the use of critical, creative and innovative learned experiences for a socially, culturally, industrial, business or scientific problem-solving outcome. The result will be an immersive installation featuring sight, space, sound and emotion as a solution or marketable idea deliverable.




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

This idea is designed for 21st Century students, whose purpose-based visions cannot be fully realized solely through traditional coursework. This will reimagine higher education, as it demands a collaborative minds to create solutions to the world’s most challenging issues. It demands collaboration from academic departments, student support services, and local and global partners to realize transdisciplanry missions that are all-encompassing by—and to—the true definition of learning in practice.

This idea emerged from:

  • A group brainstorm

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

How can this model be implemented given the current curriculum structure/constraints of most universities?
What kind of “pathways” are important for a purpose-based model such as this? Lastly, this model gives additional attention to vocation because of the mission of our University, what are the equivalent values to be explored if this model was adopted at other institutions?

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

The Ikigai advising model is currently being utilized with a pilot group of IACT Certificate students to explore a purposed-based vision statements. The following labs have been conducted: 1) A lab with a select group of faculty and staff to explore Ikigai in relation to vocation on a Catholic, Marianist campus; 2) A lab was conducted with the “vocation task force” at the University; 3) and a lab to explore experiential pathways and journeys related to one's self-identified mission.

Tell us about your work experience:

The creative team at the Institute of Applied Creativity for Transformation (IACT) at the University of Dayton seeks to empower a forward-thinking 21st century student with the ability to confidently develop the imaginative and creative skills necessary to excel and impact today’s innovative and global workforce regardless of degree focus. The IACT at ArtStreet was developed over several years of cross-campus collaboration that led to the creation of the IACT Collective of Educators.

How would you describe this idea while in an elevator with someone? 2-3 sentences.

The Ikigai+ is a purpose-based academic advising model, which is guided by an Ikigai coach to empower 21st Century students to find, explore and engage the fundamental issues and questions that “keep them up at night.” This process guides the students through a journey to tackle those questions by developing an individual purpose statement to impact change in the greater society through their degree of study.

What is the specific problem your idea is trying to solve? 1 sentence.

Most institutions of higher education utilize a one-size-fits-all advising model that focuses specifically on degree focus, but research has demonstrated that the career paths of today and tomorrow are far from linear.

How is your idea different or unique from what is currently on the market?

As generations of new students seek meaning and value from their college learning experience, the advising model remains a "tell me what I need to do to get degree/get job”. This new idea meets the students where they are. It layers meaning to one's evolving workforce goals. It provides a narrative structure to why a student will continue his or her learning providing a true humanity focused purpose to a their journey so they can understand the WHY of learning rather than simply the WHAT.

How do you plan to measure the impact of your idea?

With an already strong University support system behind this potential model in addition to the University of Dayton’s Strategic Visioning plan and IACT’s engagement with ongoing advising checkpoints, Vocational Task Force, Experiential Learning Task Force, and Career Services Assessment, we have a solid groundplan for immediate and consistent measures that we believe can also be transferred to other educational partners across the Higher Education landscape and K-12.

How might your idea be transferable to a large number of people?

As consortium members of IMAGINING AMERICA (IA) and KERN ENTREPRENEURIAL ENGINEERING NETWORK (KEEN) we have a vast network of University affiliates that represent the Arts, Public Scholars and Civic Engagement focus (IA) thus providing a unique educational avenue that differ from that of the predominant engineering focus (KEEN). This instant access to nearly 150 university partners would work to share the Ikigai+ model with the exciting prospect of exploring results at these annual conferences.

What are your immediate next steps after the challenge?

We will continue to utilize the process and refine the model with our IACT certificate cohort. From there, we intend to explore implementing additional pilots with our University’s Chaminade Scholars, Honors Program and other values-based cohorts on our campus. The University of Dayton is currently in the midst of a strategic visioning process for the next 20 years. Ideas brought forth there have many synergies with the Ikiagi+ model, providing institutional support for further exploration.

Attachments (1)

Ikigai-FieldTests.pdf

Our team has been testing variations of the Ikigai+ model over the past year with a range of students, faculty and staff at the University of Dayton. This document outlines those experiences.

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Photo of Natasha Rajiv
Team

Hi Karlos,

Your idea to encourage students to think about the "why" of learning, rather than the "what" really resonated with me, and I think that this is the best way to really intrinsically motivate students to focus and dedicate themselves to their learning at higher education institutions.

To answer your question about how the Ikigai model can be implemented given the current constraints of most universities where you have to declare your major, I would suggest getting students to start this process of meeting with their Ikigai coaches even before college starts. Ideally, the process should start in students' senior year of high school, since this is when they start applying to universities. Although this is rather early, I believe that an early start will give students much more time to think about the concepts of Mission, Passion, Vocation and Profession, and this will ensure that they are applying to the right schools and for the right majors. Going in after considering these four concepts carefully, reduces the chance of them changing their major once they get to college, and thus mitigates the risk of your concern about university constraints.

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