MSUToday
Published: March 3, 2015

Industry and higher education address curricular reform and workforce readiness

Contact(s): Stepheni Schlinker Office of Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education office: (517) 884-8011 schlink2@msu.edu

To determine how industry and higher education can better work together to produce professionals who use new technologies, business models and societal innovation, MSU and IBM will host a discussion among corporate, professional, government and higher education leaders from across the nation.

Called “T-Summit 2015,” the event will take place March 16-17 at the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center, 219 S. Harrison Road, East Lansing.

Throughout the past decade, employers have placed increased importance upon the mastery of competencies beyond those focused on the academic discipline. Employers are seeking professionals with “T-shaped” skill sets.

“MSU is working more closely than ever with employers,” said MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon. “While learning by doing has long been part of the MSU student experience, we are placing more emphasis on internships and on-campus programs that feature real-world problem solving, often in collaboration with employers. We are also encouraging more students to pursue high-impact experiences such as undergraduate research, study abroad, entrepreneurship and service-learning.”

Traditionally, college and university graduates are deeply knowledgeable in their specialty area or major course of study, which represents the vertical bar of the letter “T.” However, graduates today also need boundary-crossing capacity to compete in a world in which collaboration, critical thinking, creativity, global awareness and an appreciation of diversity are essential – the skills represented by the crossbar or horizontal bar of the T.

Information technology companies were among the first to talk about the sort of talent needed to thrive in today’s workplaces in terms of the shape of the letter T, but now employers in other sectors are seeking graduates equipped with T-shape competencies.

Topics to be discussed at the summit include: higher education and employer partnerships that develop T-shaped competencies, employer practices that advance T-shaped competencies, higher education partnerships that promote T-shaped education, metrics and competencies that define the “T” and cultivating entrepreneurs and innovators.

Participants in the second annual T-Summit will share experiences and best practices to create a common language for both higher education and the corporate sector to use synonymously surrounding T-shaped development.

In addition to Simon, those taking part are Robert Kegan, William and Miriam Meehan Professor of Adult Learning and Professional Development at the Harvard University Graduate School of Education; Jeffrey Selingo, author of “College Unbound;” Diane Gherson, senior vice president of human resources for IBM; as well as the presidents of several other U.S. universities, corporate leaders and representatives from professional and government agencies from across the country.

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