As both students and professors become increasingly fed up with the current state of higher education, many are seeking alternatives. Now, MIT’s dean for graduate education has decided to take a break from her position to create her dream school.
Professor Christine Ortiz’s radical vision for a new research university would replace in-person lectures with project-based learning which would involve students working together for an extended period to solve a problem. She hopes the university will serve students of all education levels and encourage them to come and go based on the projects they complete rather than the credits they accumulate. “I’m looking at a new model, where the whole sort of vocabulary is different,” she tells MIT’s The Tech. “The distinction between undergrad and grad goes away.”
While unconventional, the new type of school will still be located in a brick-and-mortar space. Ortiz plans to scope out a location for the non-profit university somewhere in Massachusetts. At the the end of the semester, the material sciences professor will begin her one-year leave from MIT, during which she'll gather her team and begin the project—though she suspects it might take longer than that.