San Francisco-based Adjacent Academies, which enables liberal arts students to earn college credit while building in-demand tech skills, has raised $2.1 million to launch study away program, which was built on the success of a 2019 pilot, which enrolled students from Davidson College, a top-ranked liberal arts college, and four other colleges.
The seed round of financing was led by Rethink Education with additional participation by New Ground Ventures, Bisk Ventures and Entangled Group.
Launched in 2019, Adjacent Academies partners with universities to help non-computer science students develop the skills, experiences, and networks they need to succeed in a world of rapid technological transformation. The program is the result of a unique incubation project between Davidson College and Entangled Group, a venture studio that incubates big ideas and builds businesses to unlock human potential in a knowledge economy.
Adjacent Academies believes that students shouldn’t have to major in computer science to play a role in the tech industry. Its programs are not bootcamps or extension classes but are academically-rigorous programs that provide real-world experience and prepare students for today’s (and tomorrow’s) jobs. With Adjacent, students no longer need to decide between pursuing academic passions and preparing for successful careers post graduation. They can get both.
Explaining the program, Anh Nguyen, CEO of Adjacent Academies, said,
“We have to move beyond this false choice between the vast potential of the liberal arts, and the skills and know-how that the labor market is asking for today. This is not about replacing traditional higher education, but instead enhancing it. It’s about providing students with a springboard into their careers, and the tools to navigate, and adapt, during periods of unprecedented change.”
Emphasising on why the need of such program, Carol Quillen, President of Davidson College, said,
“Colleges are under pressure to ensure that our graduates are equipped for not just their fifth but their first job. This is about pairing the sort of analytical rigor and critical thinking that are the hallmark of a rigorous liberal arts education, with the hands-on experiences and tech skills that will enable graduates to thrive in an increasingly dynamic world of work.”
Shireen Campbell, Professor and Chair of Davidson’s English department, also added saying,
“It is important that students wrestle with the fact that technical tools aren’t neutral; they inevitably reflect the assumptions and values of their makers and culture context. The liberal arts emphasis on exploring topics from multiple perspectives allows students in this program to learn technical skills while they explore ethical complexities within technology today.”
Adjacent Academies’ unique presence in Silicon Valley enables the incorporation of regular visits to tech startups and more established companies across an array of industries. Students who enrolled in the first program visited firms like Slack, LinkedIn, and Remind.
Hope the fresh funding will enable the company to fulfil its mission in helping the liberal arts students to build in-demand tech skills and compete in a dynamic tech-forward market.