Innovation is a lens for thinking, learning, and living that frames our perspective of the world in new ways. It is a concept that invites ingenuity and inventiveness, and a platform that supports the integration of different disciplines and systems to help create engaging platforms for knowledge and awareness.
Within the past two years, Hopkins has started looking through the lens of innovation to explore new methods of teaching, learning, and operations. This lens creates the capacity for us to better understand the intersectionality of the world, and to realize how intellectual connections and personal collaborations enable us to create solutions and solve problems. Developing the institutional capacity to think in these ways enables us to envision what is possible within our community. It helps us imagine what we can do if we take intellectual risks, challenge convention, and have the courage to try something new. Through this enhanced approach, we gain the sense of confidence one only finds through experience—through making, discovering, tinkering, and creating.
As we embrace innovation at Hopkins, we are called to develop new curricula and support forward-thinking pedagogy. In the classroom, we are starting to bring forth courses and professional development opportunities that foster this creative consciousness. Last year, faculty members led workshops to provide insights and encourage exploration in areas like project-based learning, maker methods in our classes, performance-based assessment, flipped classroom practices, and global education. We hired our first-ever Director of Innovation and Technology who facilitates conversations around teaching practices, peer-coaching, expectations for collaboration, and the importance of professional reflection and feedback.
Our course catalogue continues to expand as we promote more methods that develop innovative thinking and learning. Through experiences like HARPS (Hopkins Authentic Research Program in Science), Design Engineering, the Humanities Symposium, the expansion of computer science and coding, and many projects scattered throughout our curriculum, we invited the spirit of innovation into the academic life of our school. These courses provide dynamic vehicles for our students to engage the world, and we are actively considering how we can further enhance this aspect of our academic program.
Innovation at Hopkins begins when we start becoming more comfortable asking ourselves “is there a different way to see this, to learn this, and to understand this?” It begins by processing how we balance innovation with traditional and proven methods of teaching and learning; and by realizing how we go beyond content to teach the skills and sensibilities students need to be courageous thinkers.
As a school, we want to deliver a program that prepares students for their futures, not our pasts. We hope that as this evolved consciousness grows within our community, our students will be able to feed their hunger for intellectual curiosity with a much broader and more dynamic menu of experiences. We hope that this way of thinking strengthens a culture where courage and character are valued, and students realize that passions are often discovered through risk-taking and mistake making. We hope that as students learn different ways to think, create, and act, they will realize how they can have an impact on this world and help others. Moving forward, I hope we can all look through the lens of innovation together to imagine the future in front of us, and modernize the legacy of academic excellence at Hopkins.