Leadership: Fostering leadership ability in our students is an acknowledged component of our mission statement. We can significantly strengthen this part of our mission if we begin to consider this one foundational element: leadership development in the faculty and staff who are charged with promoting student leadership skills. In order to stay competitive and nimble as an institution, we should all understand leadership structures (such as heterarchy versus heierarchy) that have been shown to hold institutional advantages in a changing society or marketplace, while considering how best to consciously develop leadership abilities and opportunities among the HMC faculty and staff. We can teach leadership best by being expert leaders ourselves.
Invention Clearinghouse: Americans in general and Harvey Mudd College students in general are an innovative breed. We have useful and marketable ideas al the time, but are stifled by the difficulty in getting product ideas to market. The patent process was once a conduit for ideas that made America the world leader in innovation, but nowadays is expensive and inaccessible to the average inventor. The HMC Entrepreneur Network seems geared toward business startups, but many engineers are not businessmen. Short of starting your own business, all that exists for such people are bunko operations that claim to market your products, but who only pocket your money. HMC could use its contacts and resources to develop some sort of Invention Clinic that would act as a clearinghouse for marketable ideas, researching the ideas and connecting them with manufacturers. HMC could enhance its coffers by receiving a percentage of any contracts brokered.
This would be an excellent experience for any and all students (work-study, perhaps). Who knows, if something like this catches on, it might spark some sort of innovation renaissance in America; it's not like the economy couldn't use a shot in the arm. Ross A. Watkins
Transformative experiences What conditions promote the sorts of life-changing experiences that are the high point of an outstanding education? Looking back, what college experiences changed the lives of our students and alumni - be it inspiration to enter a profession, discovery of a new creative passion, exposure to a new intellectual perspective, or immersion in an experience that changed the way they view the world? How might we study and better understand these transformative experiences, including their frequency, characteristics, origins, and impacts? What new institutional structures and resources (facilities, curricular reforms, personnel, grants for students, etc.) might we put in place to make life-changing experiences a hallmark of a Harvey Mudd education? Paul F. Steinberg
Creativity What would it mean if creativity were to become as thoroughly embedded in the collective educational objectives of Harvey Mudd College as, say, quantitative facility? If we were to commit ourselves as seriously to provide opportunities for the development of individual creativity as we do opportunities for undergraduate research? If we were to think big and imagine the effect of an HMC Center for Creative Activity that would unite fine artists, computer scientists, writers, mathematicians and many others in a space that would encourage synergy across expressive forms? The cultivation of individual capacity for creativity has long been seen as a hallmark of liberal education, but more recently creativity has attracted the attention of students of professional development. Recent scholarly work by David Kirp, Richard Lanham and, most