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Tuesday, April 16, 2024
The Eagle

Don’t depend on AU to teach you about innovation

My father and I are both avid online New York Times readers and constantly send each other interesting articles throughout the week.

As I scanned my inbox last week, all the usual emails showed up: Today@AU, an Urban Outfitters deal and my daily NYT email from dad.

However, while the articles usually have me thinking about international policy or travel, this one asked me a question I hadn’t been asked before: “Do any of your professors or classes at AU teach you to be creative, inventive and innovative?”

He had sent me Thomas L. Friedman’s recent column, “Need a Job? Invent It.”

In his piece, Friedman talks about Harvard education specialist Tony Wagner’s book “Creating Innovators: The Making of Young People Who Will Change The World.” Wagner argues that our K-12 and college tracks are not consistently “adding the value and teaching the skills that matter most in the marketplace.”

According to Wagner, the goal of education today is to make kids “innovation ready” instead of “college ready” so they can add value to whatever they do.

Similarly, another article in the New York Times’ online “Room for Debate” discusses the importance of a liberal arts foundation. Columnist William Pannapacker argues, “The world is changing too quickly to make reliable predictions. Assume that you will have many careers, and that you will need to find ways to adapt your talents to the world’s needs.”

In a world where knowledge and information are so easily accessible, what matters is what we do with this knowledge and use it to stand out, be creative and come up with new ideas. According to Wagner, “skills like critical thinking, communication and collaboration are far more important than academic knowledge.”

Usually, I think about how hard it will be for me to find a job in two years. I worry about internship opportunities and fattening up my resume so I can hopefully have a shot at a decent job after graduation. Nevertheless, my father’s inquiry really got me thinking about AU and the education and tools it provides me.

I can easily say that many of my classes at AU have taught me collaboration, and as a student in the School of Communication I am forced to be an expert at communicating.

However, in terms of being an "innovator," my digital skills class, a requirement for all SOC students, is the only one that has come close.

When it comes to innovation, it’s the clubs I am a part of on campus that teach me to be an innovator. At Her Campus American, our team of writers and publicity members attempt to always stay ahead of the game. We collaborate and come up with ideas and topics to write about, as well as try and identify trends and topics that are popular on the Web.

AU’s own Social Media Club is also a group of young innovators who constantly attempt to be ahead of the game. We learn to use the Internet as a tool to stand out. In a world where almost everyone tweets, we discuss how to make our tweets different.

April 12 and 13 mark the date of the Third Annual Social Learning Summit, two days dedicated to panels, networking and learning to be an innovator, at least on the Web.

AU’s general education classes may still not be tailored to provide us with the tools to be innovators, but students must take the initiative to be creative and innovative, or they will fall to the bottom of the workforce food chain.

Julia Greenwald is a sophomore in the School of Communication.

Section 202 host Gabrielle and friends go over some sports that aren’t in the sports media spotlight often, and review some sports based on their difficulty to play. 

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