During this time, Instructor Phil Stoesz acted as a participant in the class, stepping back to allow the students to take the lead. The presentations were not meant to just update classmates on progress, but also to give the student presenters the opportunity to practice leading and facilitating collaboration. Following each student presentation, the class engaged in a four-step critique. Stoesz is a certified critical response process facilitator, and he uses his classroom as an opportunity to train his students in the method. In Step 1, the class comments on aspects that were unique or worked well. In Step 2, the presenter asks the class questions about how they did. In Step 3, the class asks questions of the presenter, and in Step 4, the class gives permissioned opinions to the presenter.

“It helps them talk about what’s meaningful about the work they’re doing. It helps them get curious about the work and how to improve it. And it helps them share opinions in a rigorous way that is also safe and professional,” Stoesz said.

The agency students are encouraged to take in this class is a theme that was echoed by students about many of their technological leadership classes.

“That’s the best part of this major, that you kind of get to pick which route you want to take. I know people in this class are more focused on web development in their future. I myself am more focused towards the project management side of this major — so, taking this and trying to do grant discovery work or government work for project management, said senior technological leadership major Miles English. 

Leach agreed, adding, “All TL (technological leadership) classes have some form of hands-on education where you learn it yourself and you’re doing it yourself and you have something you can take pride in.”

Technological leadership students are given the opportunity to learn differently, and it’s what they value in their education.

“Our exams are ‘prove you’ve learned something over the last six weeks.’ I don’t have to study and learn the exact same things everybody else does and then immediately forget about it after the fact. I will forever remember every single one of my Interplanetary Initiative classes. I will forever remember Desert Skies because of how much we’ve done with it, how much I’ve learned from it, how much I’ve grown because of it,” said Leach.

“One of the things students will often tell me is they look forward to the class because they have a lot of power to do what they want. And also it’s the closest thing to what they’ll be doing for the rest of their life, which is working together, figuring out how to collaborate, how to be part of a team, being clear with each other and leading. It’s all the actual skills that they will need and use in the rest of their lives,” Stoesz said.

HDA 296: Creative Futures Studio will be offered online and on-ground in spring 2022, and students from all majors are welcome and encouraged to register. For questions about this course or the technological leadership bachelor's degree, please email TechLeadership@asu.edu.

Sally Young

Senior Communications Specialist, Interplanetary Initiative