Reflections from the Chair Emeritus—Dick Johanson
As you read what Deborah has written below, I would urge you to mentally put yourself back in a school classroom once again. To me the key word in the entire educational process is “relativity”. Nothing is more boring than staring at a text book preparing for a written test on an academic subject that will be significantly forgotten soon thereafter. However, tying in the subject matter to a future career changes the entire learning process. Then “motivation” comes into play. When a student becomes motivated to learn teachers become partners and an all too common resistance to an academic education falls away. In short, in this person’s opinion, vocational education needs to resume its rightful place with academia in the relativity of our educational structure.
The Innovative University
Clayton Christensen, author of The Innovator’s Dilemma, The Innovator’s Prescription, and Disrupting Class, has co-authored a new book, The Innovative University: Changing the DNA of Higher Education from the Inside Out. As a professor of innovation at Harvard’s Business School, his life work involves deep reflection about critical issues and the seed thoughts that give rise to existing systems and structures. Disruptive innovations are impacting every sector as the pace of change has accelerated and resilience, creativity and adaptability have become essential life skills. Is it possible to embrace change by building upon strengths and letting go of what simply doesn’t work anymore with an eye to minimizing economic dislocation? His latest book speaks to a customized future that meets the needs of a far larger population of students and the diverse communities in which they live. The authors also underscore the importance of shared values to insure a deeper context in which knowledge develops.
Shared Responsibility for Workforce Preparation
Considerable progress has been made at Fresno Unified to prepare career ready graduates. In 2008, FUSD launched a commission on Workforce Readiness and Career Technical Education to determine how to scale and accelerate toward their goal. The report is available at http://www.fresnounified.org/about/reports/workforce-readiness-and-career-technical-education-commission.pdf. Thanks to the sponsorship of Heald College, there will be two career nights in October to connect students to the pathways and educate their families about them. There are 25 Career Readiness Pathway Programs representing 14 industry sectors offered across Fresno Unified. These programs expand student understanding of the world of work and identify career pathways and specific occupations within them. By working together on economic and human development, we can align strategies to succeed in both. While knowledge workers are essential to a prosperous economy, restoring pathways for craftsman, artisans and technicians of all sorts is equally important. As explained by Michael Crawford, “Craftsmanship entails learning to do one thing really well, while the ideal of the new economy is to be able to learn new things, celebrating potential rather than achievement.”