The Future-Ready Graduate

Today’s world is in a state of permanent and radical change which is affecting society, science and the economy in equal measure. In this process universities, as research institutions, are major and active protagonists. To prepare their graduates, however, they must also adapt their teaching to the new scenario of change. They must set new objectives, and be ready to deploy innovative approaches to teaching, learning and curriculum design.

How can universities best do these things? How can they prepare today’s students to operate in a new research and working environment? How can they utilise new forms of teaching and learning effectively to equip students with the 21st-century skills they require and the tools to face the as-yet-undefined workings of a global economy? What didactic and technical approaches should they take? How might university teaching and learning spaces change? And: What roles do faculty and students play in modern university teaching scenarios? What pedagogical skills and leadership attitudes do university faculty need in order to foster student-oriented teaching? Future-oriented universities must find workable answers to these and other questions.

Academic developers are in a position to play an essential role in this context. How can they help university teachers to acquire and develop a new range of competences? Are courses and workshops the only answer, or are entirely new perspectives, approaches and concepts required? Academic developers also have the potential to initiate and sustain organisational change within universities. How can they best address diverse faculty and student bodies and facilitate processes of change?

In times of change, examples of good practice and innovative teaching and learning forms from around the world are key to identifying and developing robust, functional models and concepts. The goal of the ICED 2020 conference at ETH Zurich is to foster a future-oriented exchange and discussion among ICED members on how university faculty may be enabled to forge, from the students of today, the future-ready graduates of tomorrow.

Sub-themes

Diversity and the future-ready graduate

“My future is not your future.” Diverse groups have differing educational needs and goals, and defining the term “future-ready graduate” requires us to reflect not only on technology but on factors such as gender, indigeneity, economic status and location. In some cases the role and meaning of education itself need discussion. How can our global community move into our shared future in ways that not only address future technological and economic needs, but also honour differences?

Future-ready teaching methods

How will students be learning in an unknown future? What formats and methods will they require? How can our institutions prepare and respond, and keep education both relevant and accessible?

Future-ready assessment

Inspired, forward-looking developments in education often fail at the assessment stage, where old-fashioned methods still prevail. How can we retain the momentum of innovation right through assessment? What new perspectives are needed? How can we leverage the many digital tools we now have at our disposal?

Future-ready disciplines and curricula

The growth of knowledge is exponential and technology is developing rapidly and radically. How do we ensure that curricula remain relevant and responsive to contextual challenges and to student needs? How do we best work to decolonise western-centric curricula and integrate ways of knowing and learning from the Global South? How do we embed a necessary critique of existing power relations that restrict opportunity and potential? What competences do future graduates need and how do we anticipate these? How do we prepare graduates to be future-ready in a constantly changing digital world, and for the challenges of artificial intelligence?

Future-ready professional development

As the needs of students change, so do those of academics. How will professional development look in the future, and how should our practices as educational developers change? What is the role of the scholarship of teaching and learning in propagating a future-ready mindset?

Future-ready educational developers

How will educational development evolve? What mindset is required to be future-ready, and how do we develop it? What tools will help us to remain innovative and effective?

Future-ready universities

To be future-ready, how will our organisations need to develop? What forms of leadership and collaboration are required, and how do we cultivate them? Where does power currently reside inside and outside our organisations, and what stances do we take?

The future is now

What educational developments are already underway which can take us forward into the future?