A team of University Innovation Fellows, faculty sponsors and program leaders hosted a Summit at SXSWedu on March 8, 11am – 2pm, titled “How Students Can Help Reinvent Higher Ed.”

Some may think of students simply as customers of higher education, yet leading schools have discovered that students can play a far more strategic role as co-designers of the educational experience. Our Summit was structured in two 90-minute active blocks (participants could attend one or both): in the first, they heard the student voice, from leaders trained to impact how learning happens at their institutions, and apply design thinking to frame opportunities for change in higher ed. In the second block, they went deeper into design thinking strategies and collaborate with panelists to distill bold ideas into experiments that they could implement to make a difference at their organizations.

Materials used at our Summit:

The University Innovation Fellows Landscape CanvasThe UIF Landscape Canvas (pdf)
This canvas is used by students in the University Innovation Fellows program to analyze the existing curricular and extracurricular opportunities at their schools related to innovation, entrepreneurship, design thinking and creativity. Once the canvas is complete, the students take note of the places where nothing or little exists to designate opportunities for change.



Reframe the Question Worksheet (pdf)
This double-sided worksheet asked participants to explore the provocation they came up with during the summit. Directions: Using a provocation, move up the ladder by asking “And WHY is that important?” and down the ladder by asking “And HOW might we do that?” Then, review the set of statements derived and write down a new provocation on the opposite side of this page.


Designing Experiments Worksheet (pdf)
This worksheet asked participants to flesh out the experiment design process, with sections on sketching out the idea in various ways, identifying the goals, listing assumptions about the idea, and experimenting with variables.


Faces Sheet for Summit Hosts (pdf)
Find out more about the 15 student, faculty and staff hosts of this summit and how to contact them.




March 7 – 10, 2016 • Austin, TX
Visit SXSWedu website for more about the conference.