Wide-ranging ASU + GSV Summit explores the future of talent


Penny Walker

Editor's note: ASU Now will be covering this week's ASU + GSV Summit in San Diego, an event that started in 2010 with a collaboration between Arizona State University and Global Silicon Valley that attracts more than 4,000 leaders from across the learning and talent spectrum and serves as a platform for elevating dialogue about raising education and career outcomes through scaled innovation. Find highlights below from some of the hundreds of panels, including videos, quotable quips and links to longer stories. 


All right, all right, all right: Famous folks on the power of education

10:15 p.m. Wednesday, April 18

Judges confer at the ASU GSV Summit
Judges (from left) Dan Rosensweig, CEO of Chegg; Betty Liu, founder and CEO of Radiate; and actor Matthew McConaughey confer before awarding a $50,000 Venture Award to Freddy Vega, co-founder and CEO of Platzi, at the Closing Dinner + Keynote on Wednesday. Platzi is an online education tool serving primarily Spanish-speaking countries. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

Mexico has progressed rapidly over the past generation thanks to better education, according to Vicente Fox, a businessman and the former president of Mexico. Fox delivered the final keynote address Wednesday, an evening that focused on education's power to transform and also featured Hollywood star power: Matthew McConaughey speaking about his student-focused foundation.


Changing the way people approach college

8 p.m. Wednesday, April 18

Eric Waldo, executive director of Michelle Obama's Reach Higher Initiative at Civic Nation, talks about how the U.S. has fallen in its worldwide educational ranking of post-secondary completion, and the strategies that could turn that around. 

Video by David Jinks/ASU


What if we got rid of credits? Or semesters?

5:55 p.m. Wednesday, April 18

Arthur Levine, president of the Woodrow Wilson Foundation and former president of the Teachers College at Columbia University, talks about how the system of university education — based on credits and semesters — is outdated. Here, he shares what might replace that.

Video by David Jinks/ASU


Chronicle report: Emerging trends in U.S. higher ed

5:20 p.m. Wednesday, April 18

What forces will shape higher education over the next year? Goldie Blumenstyk, senior writer for the Chronicle of Higher Education, discussed key findings from The Chronicle’s 2018 Trends Report. Here are some emerging trends:

  • The American campus ‘under siege’: “What we’re seeing is an incredible rise of incidents on campuses. That’s because a lot of organizations have discovered that a campus is a good place to make a statement about campuses as bastions of liberal thought. Incidents related to white supremacy, like leafletting, have tripled.”
  • Students in charge: “There are a lot of students still disenfranchised, like students at community college, but what we’re seeing at a lot of institutions, in part because tuition is making up a larger piece of the pie, is the balance of power shifting. There’s a lot more market-demand curriculum, nicer dining halls and more of a focus on career services.”
  • Loss of global prestige: “Because of difficulty with visas and DACA, the United States is a less popular destination for students from overseas. The U.K., Australia and New Zealand are making big pushes to go after the international market the U.S. seems to be turning its back on.”
  • Student success up front: “This is not just about adaptive software platforms or success coaches. We’re seeing a systemic approach that looks different from a few years ago. The best example of this is at Georgia State, which is offering completion grants. They use data to identify students who are close to graduation and give them a small completion grants so they don’t drop out.”
  • Black college renaissance: “The more we see hostility to people of color on campuses, the more that students of color will go to institutions where they find things friendly. We’ve seen record enrollment in (historically black colleges and universities), and we’ve seen increased enrollment of Latino students and Asian students at HBCUs.”


Let's hear from the founders of the summit

4:45 p.m. Wednesday, April 18

Video by David Jinks/ASU


The outlook for middle-skills jobs

4:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 18

What will the future of work be like for people who want a middle-class lifestyle but no college degree? Cross-sector panelists weigh in.


Digitalization and Education

3:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 18

As the world becomes more connected, it also becomes more complex. Jaime Casap, education evangelist at Google, discussed how students today must be prepared to solve global problems that haven’t been defined yet, using technology that hasn’t been invented, in roles that do not exist. To thrive in this new era, learners need to know how to learn, problem solve, think critically, and how to use digitization tools.

“Machine learning is core to everything that we do. The key question is, making sure that machine learning, artificial intelligence — we have to make sure that it’s inclusive, that it’s not biased. We have to make sure that we’re not solving for an old problem, but that we’re solving for a new problem. When we’re using machine learning and artificial intelligence to fix the homework problem, when we know homework doesn’t work, are we really solving anything?

“People always ask kids, ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ That question makes no sense. Instead, I want to ask kids, ‘What problem do you want to solve?’ Because that gets us closer to what Danny Pink talks about in his book, ‘Drive,’ about what motivates all of us as human beings: purpose — what problem do you want to solve? The second question is, ‘How do you want to solve it?’ Autonomy. And then the most important question in education is the third one around mastery. What do you need to learn to solve that problem? What are the knowledge, skills and abilities that you need to have in order to solve that problem?”


Athletics intrinsically linked with education

2:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 18

Sports and education experts formed a team to talk about the relationships that exist between college athletics, academics and the pro leagues — both good and bad. ASU President Michael Crow, adidas North America President Mark King and New York Times sportswriter Karen Crouse weighed in on the topic.


adidas' Mark King on what sport has meant in his life

2 p.m. Wednesday, April 18

Video by David Jinks/ASU


Where is testing going?

11 a.m. Wednesday, April 18 

Modern measurement of learning efficacy and human skills is rapidly evolving, and machine learning and AI technologies are at the heart of much of the change. Leaders from a diverse set of organizations discussed the future of testing and assessment and other forms of measurement, at a panel called "From Hype to Insight: Measurement is Woke," led by moderator Karen Cator, CEO of Digital Promise.

Joanna Gorin, vice president, research, Educational Testing Service: I think what we need to make sure that we are doing, while we’re changing and evolving, is think of what we can take advantage of in terms of all of these technologies to better measure what it really means to learn and to know something, but not to lose sight of the fact that we still have to evaluate the data as evidence, and often times there is more data than is really meaningful to be able to do what we need to do.

Lou Pugliese, Action Lab managing director and Senior Innovation Fellow, ASU: At ASU…what we’re finding is that as we begin to go up the level of sophistication, meaning starting with these early tree adaptive systems, to more algorithm-based adaptive systems that really require better diagnostic models, we can start to see the ability to move from just measuring cognition and intelligence surface knowledge, to really measure competence in terms of what the students can actually do. I think that’s most important thing that AI accomplishes.


How to achieve real innovation

10:50 a.m. Wednesday, April 18

Several experts addressed change in universities at a panel titled, “Change Agents or Kamikaze Pilots? Can We Have Unfettered Innovation in HigherEd?”

Jeffrey Selingo, special advisor and professor of practice, ASU: Innovation can be a fuzzy word. What does innovation mean, but more importantly what does unfettered innovation look like? Higher education is a rightly regulated industry in the U.S. and that word unfettered makes some people nervous.

Marni Baker-Stein, provost and chief academic officer, Western Governors University: I think innovation is an empty word in and of itself. It is a tool in the toolkit to get to the most important thing, which is serving every learner better and better all the time. In that context, there is no such thing as unfettered innovation. I’ve never had an experience in my professional life and in working with companies to drive innovation, where there weren’t constraints. That’s what makes innovation innovative. How do we work within those constraints to drive change?

Selingo: As we think about innovation at existing institutions, do you have to change the culture first and then follow with a strategy?

Kevin Guthrie, president, Ithaka: We did a case study of ASU three years ago. We interviewed 50 people. It’s primarily cultural. The degree to which it’s strategic is clarity of vision. (ASU President) Michael Crow has experienced a clarity of vision and it’s taken 15 years. The first five years, there wasn’t a lot movement. We forget that. Whether you agree or don’t agree, what’s happening there is that there’s consistency that’s changing the culture. We asked what percentage of the faculty are on board with this story. And what all the leadership said was 80 percent are on board. It’s taken long enough that the people who are not are gone. Clarity of vision followed by a cultural change in terms of people, design and goals is critical to innovation within an institutional complex.


Diverse array of topics kicks off final day of ASU + GSV Summit

8 a.m. Wednesday, April 18

Read about all the highlights from the morning session, including a conversation about school violence with former U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, a panel with ASU President Michael Crow and this year's McGraw Prize winners, and an expert discussion of the complexities of the Chinese and American education systems.


Fete for McGraw Prize winners

11 p.m. Tuesday, April 17

After the John Legend keynote and the panel discussion, ASU + GSV Summit participants were led by marching band to a reception in honor of the McGraw Prize winners.


John Legend and social justice in the spotlight

10:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 17

John Legend takes the stage at the ASU GSV Summit
Oscar, Golden Globe and 10-time Grammy Award winner John Legend takes the stage to deliver the Tuesday afternoon keynote address at the ASU+GSV Summit 2018 in San Diego. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

John Legend headlined an evening focused on social justice, as the singer-activist and a panel of experts focused on what our communities must do to cultivate talent in all groups, in particular the incarcerated.


Transitioning from school to the workplace

5 p.m. Tuesday, April 17

What are the best ways to prepare graduates for success post-graduation? ASU leaders talk about how the university's role has changed, going beyond the traditional work of a career services office.


Apple VP on unlocking potential

4:40 p.m. Tuesday, April 17

At a talk about technology unlocking students' potential, John Couch reflected on his years as Apple’s vice president of education, and his soon-to-be-released book, “Rewiring Education,” examining how technology can be used to address a number of K-12 challenges.

“We need a new set of A-B-Cs. 'A' is access. We do not have equal access. We don’t have it in the U.S., and we don’t have it around the world. 'B' is the students are capable of much more than being consumers of content. They can be creators of content. And 'C,' code. And I don’t say coding because I want everyone to be a coder. But the process to code is the same process to solve a problem, to start a company,” he said.

“The new learning pedagogy really becomes a symbiotic relationship between the teacher and the student and the community to solve real, relevant problems. And the students become the creators; they collaborate so they leverage each other’s talents and they take on challenges.”


And now for some cool gadgets

4:20 p.m. Tuesday, April 17


The workplace value of arts and humanities

3:55 p.m. Tuesday, April 17

STEM fields can steal the headlines, but at the "Future of Arts and Humanities in a Changing World of Work" panel, arts and humanities were in the spotlight.

Alexander Hochman, senior director, University of San Francisco Career Services Center: If anyone hasn’t checked out LinkedIn’s new monthly reports that they are doing by region, they are worth looking at. For the April report, in San Francisco, the top 10 skills that are in overabundance are all coding, and that was a surprise to me because I’m always worried that our students aren’t learning how to code, especially if they are a liberal arts major. And the top 10 skills that were the most desirable, were all your typical humanities skills.

Christian Garcia, associate dean and executive director, University of Miami: When I have a parent come to the career center and say, "Well, I don’t want Johnny studying English or humanities," I use the data to really show that those students are just as successful as our business majors or engineering majors in terms of finding jobs, in terms of salaries. And if you look beyond that first job, second job, five years down the line, they’re doing just as well and sometimes even better than those students. So I let the data speak for itself.


Getting a foot in the door in Silicon Valley

2:50 p.m. Tuesday, April 17

Panelists talk about working in Silicon Valley at the ASU GSV Summit
Cassie Nielsen, the vice president for talent at VMG Partners, offers a question she uses in interviews as she recruits executives for placement, during the "View from the Front Lines of Talent in Silicon Valley" panel Tuesday. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

For new graduates who have their sights set on working in Silicon Valley, a panel of recruiters talked about how they hire in a panel titled, “View from the Front Lines of Talent in Silicon Valley."

What technology will change the workforce?

Marian Pond, vice president, executive talent, Lightspeed Venture Partners: When you look at the sheer amount of employees that need to be brought in, I think human resource technology platforms that are leveraging the power of artificial intelligence are drastically changing the talent landscape. The recruiting staffing industry in the U.S. alone is $400 billion. Through these platforms, they’re able to identify the candidates quicker and shorten the recruiting time dramatically.

Ryan Bulkoski, partner in artificial intelligence and digital practice, Heidrick & Struggles: MIT recently made public this device that allows a human to communicate with a machine without vocalizing words. By determining the neuromuscular signals in your mind, it can pick up the conversation with 92 percent accuracy. How does that change the job market? It would drastically speed up jobs that are heavy in original content creation. Individuals who may have been hampered form birth not being able to speak can enter the workforce in more exciting capacities.

Is talent from Silicon Valley worth the hype?

Pond: It depends. There are a lot of amazing engineers in the Bay Area that have a lot of experience working with very complex enterprise solutions, but it comes at a cost. Compensation is crazy high and I don’t think there’s a lot of loyalty. A consumer company can be built with far less resources, especially technology talent.

Bulkoski: So many clients say they want to meet clients from Facebook, Amazon, Apple and Google. I ask, "What’s on your wish list?" One, the person will make a big impact. Two, we can make a huge press release. Three, they’ll bring a bunch of friends with them to New York or Pittsburgh. But there are risk factors. One is — is your organization set up from a cultural perspective to allow that person to be a success? Do you have a lot of politics? Second — how will you keep that person when they get a call 12 months later?


Educational needs in the Arab world

2:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 17

Video by David Jinks/ASU

“The challenges in the Arab world are not unlike challenges in global communities around higher education, but they happen to be more acute,” Maysa Jalbout, founding CEO of the Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation for Education, said in a Tuesday midday panel about improving education in Arab countries through a partnership with ASU.

The panel, which included ASU President Michael Crow, discussed how the refugee crisis requires swift action and change, which many traditional universities are not designed to handle. 


Redefining the land-grant university for the 21st century

2:00 p.m. Tuesday, April 17

Panelists discuss land grant universities at the ASU GSV Summit
Andy Rosen, the chairman and CEO of Kaplan Inc., speaks at a panel discussion on "Kaplan and Purdue University, Redefining the Land-Grant University for the 21st Century" on Tuesday at the ASU+GSV Summit. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

Purdue University’s acquisition of Kaplan University was characterized as “the most talked about business move on the higher education landscape in 2017.” The new university resulting from the transaction — Purdue University Global — has just recently been announced. The leaders who put this transformative transaction together — Kaplan's Andrew Rosen and Purdue's Steven Schultz and Frank Dooley — discussed what it means for their organizations and for higher education overall.

Andrew Rosen, chairman and CEO, Kaplan, Inc.: The question which gets posed to anybody that’s trying to do something different in higher ed is — well, it’s a different modality that you’re using, or a different...