Seeding a post-pandemic culture of “wicked education”

Dominic Swayne (JMU X-Labs), Patrice Ludwig (James Madison University | JMU XLabs), Erica Lewis (James Madison University), and Sean McCarthy (James Madison University | JMU X-Labs) on Seeding a Post-Pandemic Culture of “Wicked Education" at the 2021 ASU+GSV Summit.As the pandemic begins to recede, the big winners in the higher ed sector appear to be the emerging class of “mega universities” equipped with the tools to serve huge populations of students with cheaper, more flexible online education offerings than more traditional brick and mortar institutions can provide. But when the dust settles, what emerges is very likely to be a far more complex hybrid model. Learning exclusively online will not serve all needs, no matter how sophisticated the delivery. Furthermore, the role of the brick-and-mortar university as a center of research and regional development will continue to persist, particularly as the world braces for rolling, rather than isolated, systemic shocks. If online education cannot adequately serve all the demands placed on higher ed as a sector, the question is: How can brick and mortar institutions adapt to thrive in the changed global landscape? The answer this panel proposes is to embrace the idea of “wicked education”: a model that grows by embracing rather than taming the highly complex challenges faced by higher ed. The speakers, all founding team members at an innovation space at a regional, undergraduate-focused institution, explore experiments, hacks, and research agendas that embrace complexity--the key to building future-ready institutions.