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ASU’s Interplanetary Initiative launches new bachelor’s degree in technological leadership

Interdisciplinary courses are designed to train successful leaders and problem-solvers for technology-related fields of the future


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November 21, 2019

Arizona State University’s Interplanetary Initiative has announced its first degree program, the Bachelor of Science in technological leadership, a scalable three-year program where students learn complex problem-solving, critical thinking and leadership through an interdisciplinary blend of classroom learning and research. This innovative on-ground and online program is designed to address the ever-changing and expanding needs of the modern workforce. It will do so by teaching students to become master learners: individuals ready to adapt to the rapidly-developing worlds of science and technology. 

The heart of this major is two classes, called “inquiry” and “making,” that every student takes every semester. In the inquiry classes, students build problem-solving, critical thinking and team collaboration skills using an innovative pathway for solving research problems in the fields of science and technology. In the making classes, students create projects in the areas of engineering, art and design or community engagement to solve long-standing problems.  

In both the classroom and the research lab, students will experience a new educational methodology that facilitates knowledge creation rather than the passive absorption of delivered material. These techniques are necessary for approaching and understanding unanswered questions. “Content is ubiquitous; it’s no longer the differentiator,” said Lindy Elkins-Tanton, managing director and co-chair of the Interplanetary Initiative. “What you need to learn is process. You need to learn how to decide what to learn next, you need to learn how to ask the question that takes you where you want to go.” 

The technological leadership major also includes a strong internship component providing students opportunity to obtain credit while exploring career interests, occupations and environments. In addition, students will build career skills and professional network connections in collaboration with Interplanetary Initiative industry partners. These internships are key in preparing students for a successful transition to the working lifestyle and expectations.

Interplanetary Initiative is currently accepting applications from students wanting to start as early as the fall 2020 term. Individuals interested in enrolling in the program should contact Joshua Thompson, academic success coordinator for the Interplanetary Initiative, at joshua.r.thompson@asu.edu or visit interplanetary.asu.edu.

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