Campus Happenings

Future Forward Summit Explores Transformational Learning

  Future Forward Summit Explores Transformational Learning

RALEIGH, N.C. (October 26-27) - What skills will community college students and faculty need to have in the future? Will learning be the same? What role will community colleges play to meet future needs in training and education?

Students, faculty, and staff gathered at Wake Tech’s Southern Wake Campus to examine key questions as they envisioned the future and, specifically, the role of community colleges in the future. With a series of presentations and discussions ranging from social media to simulation and gamification, attendees at the Future Forward College Summit examined various aspects of the future at Wake Tech. Participants discussed future skills needed for evolving job markets, and descriptions of transformational learning programs already underway at Wake Tech.

The Summit is directly related to former president Stephen Scott’s focus on making sure that Wake Tech was a Future Forward College -- a college focused on making sure students are prepared for 21st Century jobs and skills for the future.

The theme for this year’s Summit was “Building Capacities for Transformation.” The two-day program included presentations by noted futurists such as Rick Smyre, President of Communities of the Future, Allen Goben, Past President of Tarrant County College in Fort Worth, Texas, and Benita Budd, Future Forward College Fellow and Professor of English at Wake Tech. The Summit included active discussions, brainstorming sessions, and actual practices already underway in programs at Wake Tech such as the Healthcare Simulation Technology and Simulation and Game Development.

Bryan Ryan, Senior Vice President of Effectiveness and Innovation, discussed what kind of learning will be needed as traditional learning becomes transformational learning. “Wake Tech is one of the community colleges that has been involved with futurist thinking and planning for years. We want to make sure we’re preparing our students with the right tools so they can architect their own future,” Ryan said.

Participants raised critical questions centered on the role of community colleges and faculty training. Traditional learning leading to transformational learning was a key part of the discussion along with real examples of “practicing foresight.”

In summing up the Futures Summit, the presentations and the active discussions, Budd commented, “Ideas and recommendations from the Futures Summit will strengthen our college's climate of creativity and innovation, and enhance our abilities to ensure our students are prepared for the uncertainties that come with rapid change. Yet we do not want to leave other community colleges behind - the Future Forward College builds networks with other futures-focused institutions. That changes the paradigm from competition to collaboration and co-creation, two skills that will be extremely important in all our futures.”