The President’s Panel on Innovation (PPI) and the Board of Trustees have endorsed the broad concept of each of the four Revolutionary Challenge finalists’ proposals. Two finalists, the Data Science Initiative and the Food, Agriculture & Resource Management (FARM) Lab were fully endorsed, and the college will begin seeking funding for both. Two others, FutureLab and Developing Leaders for 21st-Century Revolutionary Challenges were endorsed pending further refinement, following which the college will work to identify external fundraising support for these as well.
“Eighteen months ago, we launched the Revolutionary Challenge, providing a unique opportunity for our community to develop bold and innovative ideas,” said President Margee Ensign and PPI Chair Jennifer Ward Reynolds ’77 in a joint statement to the college community. “Now, as we conclude this process and announce next steps, we want to pause and say thank you for making this an unparalleled success.”
When the challenge was unveiled last year, Dickinson called on alumni, parents, faculty, staff and students to submit their most ambitious ideas for harnessing the college’s useful liberal-arts education for the common good. The community response was overwhelming and unparalleled in higher education, with 49 proposals submitted and feedback on those proposals from more than 5,000 Dickinsonians. Then hundreds of college community members tuned in to the finalists’ presentations livestream this October, and more than 1,300 offered valuable feedback to assist the PPI in its deliberations. Jim Langley, an external partner assisting with this initiative who has more than 30 years of experience in higher education, called this the most innovative approach to engaging a community in planning for the future that he had seen in three decades.
“This co-innovation process sparked the creativity of our community and succeeded beyond our wildest dreams,” said Ensign and Reynolds. “Because of you, Dickinson will remain a leader in higher education and will be uniquely positioned for the future.”
Ensign also offered special thanks to Reynolds for serving as PPI chair and guiding the Revolutionary Challenge process. “Thank you, Jennifer, for your wisdom and your steadfast commitment.”
Published December 3, 2020