Giving Compass' Take:

· EdSurge talks with Jennifer Schubert about her new approach to the first two years of college with an emphasis on building skills like communication and reasoning instead of academic disciplines. 

· How are two year colleges helping students succeed? Why are the first two years so important when building lifelong skills? 

· Read more about two-year colleges and how they help students

The first two years of college are often treated like something you just have to get through. Even the term “general education,” as the curriculum is called at that point, feels generic—and almost like a commodity.

Jennifer Schubert wants to rethink the first two years. She’s come up with a new model of a two-year college that puts less emphasis on academic disciplines and more on skills like communication and quantitative reasoning. She calls it Alder College, and it would be located in Portland, Oregon, though so far it’s just an idea and in the planning phase.

Schubert speaks the language of both higher education and business. She’s been a professor at a traditional college, as well as a consultant and business strategist. But these days she’s getting schooled in just how hard it is to start a college from scratch.

EdSurge: Why did you decide to try to start a college from scratch rather than work within higher ed? What is it that you felt was the problem that really needed a whole new fresh start?

Jennifer Schubert: Well, many of the faculty and other people we're working with on this, we've tried to change things at some of the institutions we've been at. It's been challenging, and not because people don't want to see change but higher ed is just a very complex and mostly hierarchical structure that makes it really hard to do this.

Read the full article about higher education by Jeffrey R. Young at EdSurge.