Letter to the Editor: Tell CMU staff the secret to transforming college life

Editorials featured in the Forum section are solely the opinions of their individual authors.

A second Town Meeting for the entire university community on Carnegie Mellon’s 2015 strategic plan is scheduled for Jan. 28, 4:30-6:00 p.m. at the Posner Center. One of our priorities for the discussion is an exploration of what a “Transformative CMU Experience” means for students. We encourage Carnegie Mellon students — undergrad, masters, and doctoral — to attend this meeting and share your perspectives with others who are invested in the future of the university.

We are at an exciting time in history as experts around the world are contemplating how higher education will reinvent itself in the face of many new challenges and opportunities. Institutions are exploring and adopting elements such as online learning, flipped classrooms, modular micro-courses, collaborative capstones, residential learning commons, entrepreneurial sandboxes and global engagement partnerships, just to name a few. What will, or should, the residential college experience of the future look like?

As Carnegie Mellon develops its own plan for the years to come, it is important for us as a community to affirm the core elements of the Carnegie Mellon student experience and determine what makes us distinctive, what bold experiments should be tested, and what expertise we have to offer to advance learning on our campus and beyond.

Some campuses define an education by a list of required courses, and divide the student experience into what happens inside and outside of the classroom. From our earliest days as an institution, we at Carnegie Mellon have recognized the importance of an integrated approach that embraces the idea that the whole of the student experience is more than the sum of its parts.

We encourage students to be active learners, creative thinkers, real-world problem solvers, and interdisciplinary collaborators. Our students pursue unique educational experiences that combine intellectual passions and focused study with applied learning and community engagement. As we look to the future, how do we build on this foundation?

There are many initiatives and programs across campus that are the direct product of student ideas and action. What is your idea? We hope you will take the time and share with us. Please consider coming to the meeting on Jan. 28. If you cannot make the meeting, visit where you can put your thoughts in writing. Every comment is recorded and considered, because every perspective is valued. It’s an exciting time to be at Carnegie Mellon, and we look forward to imagining the future together with you.

Amy Burkert, Vice Provost for Education and Gina Casalegno, Dean of Student Affairs.