There have been several talks on reforming higher education, various strategies for making the change.
We have in our journey explored many such projects which have the same aim and during this continuous search we got to know of Minerva Project.
In order to explore the best of the voices in the education sector who are creating an impact globally, we had a conversation with Mr. Kenn Ross, Managing Director, Asia and Ms. Robin Goldberg, Minerva's Chief Experience Officer to discuss about how Minerva Project is working on a disruptive model to revolutionize the way higher education is perceived and provided to the students across the world.
Read through the transcript or watch the video below to know their views on reforming higher education.
For those who don’t know much about Minerva Project I would want you to give an overview of the same.
In one line it is a reimagined University experience. Minerva is a 4 year accredited university program for world’s most brightest and motivated students. We are working on an improved model for a university that is much more fitting for the 21st century; what that means is Minerva model is quite different than traditional models of top tier universities in the US in terms of academic, curriculum, pedagogy, physical experience during the 4 years with no restrictions on where the student is coming from, thereby increasing access to quality education. And at the same time dropping the cost of the same by 2-3 times.
How is Minerva Project rethinking the role of an elite institution of higher learning? What are the core competencies and skills you are focusing on?
We started by thinking about what do we want our students to do when they graduate, what the learning outcomes should be as everything we do is student-centric. This comes down to helping them educate on the 4 competencies and practical transferable skills that they can use irrespective of the field they pursue in the future. Specifically:
- Critical Thinking – being able to look at something you haven’t seen before and break it into its component parts.
- Creative Thinking – being able to look at a situation/problem and creatively work on an innovate solution.
- Effective Communication – being able to convey your ideas.
- Effective Interactions/Collaboration – Being able to work with other.
These four competencies are inter-related and useful to students in their life irrespective of the field of study.
Can you walk us through the role of technology in education delivery in such model?
Technology is simply an enabler and a tool at Minerva. The virtual classroom experience we provide embraces active learning and is highly interactive and intimate that a student would not experience in a regular classroom. It is a great enabler for us to serve the unique, modern and relevant university model. When we stepped back and discussed how we can create a better and more effective classroom, a classroom that better optimizes individual student learning outcome we did come across various non-tech tools and solutions but when we digged deeper the fact that we explored was technology can further improve those outcomes.
And certainly it helps us implement various pedagogical tools at lower costs regardless of the location of learner.
Can you share more about Minerva Schools at KGI?
Minerva Schools at KGI are our 4-year undergraduate program for which we have partnered with Keck Graduate Institute, a member of the Claremont University Consortium. KGI has great history of creating innovative educational programs.
The Minerva Schools at KGI were established in 2012 to provide an extraordinary liberal arts and sciences education to the brightest, most motivated students in the world. We believe that preparing such students to become the next generation of global leaders and innovators will positively impact our collective future. We believe that preparing such students to become the next generation of global leaders and innovators will positively impact our collective future. They are very well respected schools in Southern California and being part of the consortium KGI as a partner have helped us leverage various resources.
Talk to us about the Curriculum, Pedagogy and Admission policy at Minerva Schools
Modern and Relevant Curriculum
We have a strong focus on learning of transferable skills like the four skills mentioned and unlike other institutions we do it in a very structured and purposeful way. We have identified and make use of over 100 habits of mind, foundational concepts , cognitive processes regardless of subject matter learner is studying. This is the most distinctive thing about our curriculum.
The curriculum is intense, obviously students learn the subject matter but irrespective of what the core they are focusing on, they are trained on the foundational skills we mentioned.You can get a sense of the same if you go to:
At Minerva we do have a very high bar for selection, our admissions criteria and three-part process focus on academic performance, individual achievement, and potential for innovation and leadership. But once they meet the bar, regardless of where they are from, who they are, they do get accepted. Once you apply, we review your transcript, appraise evidence of your accomplishments outside the classroom, analyze your scores on our proprietary assessments (cognitive and non-cognitive), and evaluate you for fit with the program. We do not accept things like SAT, ACT or National exams as we believe that there are better ways that science shows us.
Minerva is committed to providing an extraordinary education to the brightest students in the world, at an affordable cost. At $10,000, our annual tuition is well under half that of other highly selective universities. By lowering the financial barriers, we both minimize your debt burden and increase global access, thereby helping broaden the diversity of the student body.
What are the focus markets for Minerva Project?
Our focus is broad. We are very unique because we have the one of the most diverse bodies of any university in the world; even our founding class of 28 represented 14 different countries and territories. Next year we will have a class of around 100 representing 30 different countries and territories. This shows we appeal students all over the world as last year we received around 11000 applications from 160 different parts of the world. We not only want people coming from different places but we want students to live in different places, be part of that experiential learning so that they leave us with a global sensibility to get a sense of not only the culture of the place but know about the factors affecting the economy – elements of innovation and entrepreneurial activities impacting the same.
What are the plans for impacting Higher Ed Systems like in India? What are the things already in pipeline?
Since we understand the US higher education system the most, Minerva has started to focus and create an impact in higher education especially in the US. But what we can see is that this effect of transformation is starting to radiate outwards. We are trying to drive the positive change in higher education across the globe by basically showing what we believe is one of the better path. We are open for people to look at us, learn from us, study us or in fact copy us but iterate upon it to bring the change required. Having said that we would be more than happy to see such structured practices picking up even in India.
Very briefly tell us what makes Minerva unique among other highly selective universities.
Our classes are unique because the focus is on subject matter but at the same time on development of transferable skills. This is due to the fact that once those skills are achieved by students, they can go and study any field or subject whether math, science, arts etc anywhere in the world, and they will surely make the most of these skills. Secondly the pedagogy designed to engage students in active learning involves no lectures as we believe the best way to learn is interactive and participative conversations.
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