This is my ideal higher education

We at liberal arts colleges tend to think that we teach students to think critically, express themselves well, and create innovatively. But a lot of time, I find these goals unquantifiable. Say, how do you know students have acquired the ability to think critically? By reading their mumbling term papers?

I have thought about something akin to the apprenticeship that I might adopt in my college teaching. It is not about learning carpentry or welding. It is about real-world projects that you can only learn from hands-on experience. It is only when you have something concrete to present can you claim that you have achieved a certain goal. So I plan to have one or two of my first-year-seminar students to join me on a data project that we will build from scratch and provide actionable plans to businesses. Real projects and real businesses.

I am still crafting the details, but very inspired by this article about a Stanford class. Check it out.

Stanford students learn to build their own bikes