I am writing to you from a plane back from Montreal, where I attended an academic conference and board meeting the last five days. The conference had as its theme the question of "Where do you stand?" and speakers at the conference offered a wide range of answers to it. But behind their diverse responses lay something that most shared: the sense that the world in which we find ourselves has never needed innovative, out-of-the-box solutions more than it does now.
Faculty at several sessions at the conference proposed whole new job types and titles - "creative consultants" and "infrastructure imagineers" were two that I remember - as well as new hybrids of human activities, including airport hospitals catering to the health needs of remote populations and recharging restaurants allowing people to eat while they wait 30 minutes to recharge their electric vehicles.
An article by the Canadian economist, Todd Hirsch, in the Toronto Globe and Mail today reinforced the importance of such speculations. He writes that "the challenge of globalization" demands that we "go out and create opportunities that didn't exist before...(and) train people for new jobs that don't even have names." He ends by saying that "the sooner we embrace the possibilities of globalization, the further ahead of the curve we'll be in creating the yet-unnamed jobs and industries...waiting for...creative minds to invent."
That sounds like a call to action for us. As we engage in the activities of meeting our curriculum demands and degree requirements, we also need to be thinking of demands for which we have yet to imagine a curriculum and requirements for which no degree now exists. If we, in this college of creative minds, do not do this, who will?